By MELLY LING
Remember the good old days when cheerleading-themed movie was all the ragback thene? It was a must for every teenage girl (and some boys) to watch Bring It On (a popular cheerleading flick starring Kirsten Dunst) in order to be “coolit seems”.
Unfortunately, cheerleading as a sport was not popular in Malaysia back then, and aspiring cheerleaders didn’t have a platform to showcase their talent. However, all that changed when Cheer, the national inter-school cheerleading competition happened in 2000 and now is back for the 14th year with MARIGOLD HL Low Fat Milk as it presenter.
We also have the Cheerleading Association and Register of Malaysia (CHARM) formed in April 2008 which encourages cheerleaders to participate in cheerleading competitions.
“Cheerleading has been around in Malaysia since the 70s and most people are not aware of it. During my time in school, there was no cheerleading teams but just cheerleaders representing their own house for sports day,” recalled CHARM president Beverly Hon.
A former cheerleader, Hon realised that Malaysia needed to introduce cheerleading as a sport in schools.
Hon was working at The Star as a youth reporter, when the then Section 2 (now known as Star2) editor June H.L. Wong pitched the idea of a cheerleading competition to her team. That got Hon interested to organise Cheer 2000, as she was enthusiastic about cheerleading.
“It was a long process which took us three years to get approval. We don’t have the most informative system in this country so finding out information in getting stuff done was not easy as we need to know the actual forms to fill in and all,“ she said.
Hon is excited to catch Cheer 2013 and said, “This year will be interesting because teams have to get very creative in their routines since the new rules are more relaxed.”
Despite all that anticipation, Hon also reveals that Cheer 2013 is going to be a big challenge for cheerleaders due to the major revision to the rules.
“One thing we (cheer community) realised was that the cheerleaders haven’t properly mastered certain skills. The stunts need to be carefully performed, otherwise it will lead to injury – which is always the case. So the rules now focuses strongly on safety issues instead,“ added Hon.
Over the years, Cheer has also brought amazing success for some of its participants such as CHARM vice president, Tan Yee Ming (pic).
She was the captain for team Dynamitez of SMK Damansara Jaya in Petaling Jaya, Selangor back in 2001.
After finishing school, the passion for cheerleading led Tan to join CHARM All-Stars and Team Malaysia which she has captained for many years.
Her hardwork has brought the teams to win many international competitions in countries like in Singapore and Australia.
Although graduating with first class honours in mechatronics engineering, she chose to pursue cheerleading instead.
“If not for cheerleading, I would be a very different person today. Cheerleading taught me so many things – leadership, confidence, team work, discipline, dedication and time management.
“Realising this made me all the more passionate to coach and inspire young cheerleaders,” said Tan.
Tan is very thankful and grateful that CHEER has brought her to amazing height in her career as not only CHARM vice president but also as Cheer Aspirations director. Having been on the cheer wagon for over 10 years of coaching, Tan is expecting this year’s CHEER to be more creative and exciting from all the teams. “I would definitely expect routines that raise the bar from the strong teams.
There should also be an increase in the number of teams because of the junior division, which will be absolutely great!“ said Tan in excitement.
Cheer 2013 is organised by R.AGE and presented by MARIGOLD HL Low Fat Milk. The main sponsor is Silkygirl and the co-sponsor is Sugus. Red FM is the official radio station.
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