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By KESSHMITA PARANJOTHI
alltherage@thestar.com.my

Yim Hor Hew
Age: 16
Team name: Calyx All Girls
School: SMJK Katholik

SLEEPLESS nights are the norm for Calyx All Girls captain Yim Hor Hew. She spends a lot of time thinking of ways to keep her team motivated, uses her free time to watch cheer videos and choreograph routines, and even sacrifices her weekends for the sport. Clearly, she’s determined to lead her team to the top, and nothing’s gonna stop her from getting there.

When did you develop your love for cheerleading?

When I was in high school, I attended my first co-curricular day and was amazed by my school cheerleading team’s performance. I fell in love with the sport and have not looked back since. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t become a cheerleader. In fact, I don’t think I can even imagine a weekend without cheer practice!

What do you feel is your biggest achievement in cheerleading so far?

I have learnt a lot through cheerleading. I’ve become more confident, cheerful and my communication skills have improved. I have also learnt how to manage my time better as I need to balance between studies and cheerleading, so I am definitely a more disciplined person than I was before. As cheerleaders, it is important for us to be disciplined so that the team as a whole can become better.

Hor Yew has her family's full support in pursuing her love for cheerleading and are always around to give moral support during her competitions. Photo: Raymond Ooi/ The Star

Hor Yew has her family’s full support in pursuing her love for cheerleading and are always around to give moral support during her competitions. Photo: Raymond Ooi/ The Star

What sacrifices have you made for cheerleading?

I sacrifice my weekends to attend practice. I also need to spend lots of time watching videos and choreographing the routines. As team captain, I need to think about ways to make sure my girls are motivated and give their best, especially during competitions. Sometimes, I have sleepless nights trying to complete all my tasks.

Have you or your team members experienced any injuries?

I have experienced wrist pain due to tumblings, but with the help of a traditional Chinese doctor, I recovered after a month. However, some of my teammates experienced some serious injuries. One of our flyers fractured her coccyx and it took her several months to recover. Another of our teammates injured her neck badly during the second day of the CHEER competition last year at Stadium Bukit Jalil. She hit the back of her neck pretty hard at the beginning of the routine, and had to endure the pain throughout the whole three-minute routine. However, our strong passion for cheerleading and each other kept us going. Giving up was not an option!

Besides your coaches, where do you learn your moves from?

We look for videos online, mostly from YouTube. We like watching the international teams perform. We also get our inspiration and ideas from Facebook and Instagram. We love social media! Not only do we learn new stunts, the videos also teach us stuff that we tend to easily overlook when performing, like learning how to execute our moves with confidence and with big gleeful smiles on our faces at all times.

No eleventh hour rush: The team completed all their choreography before March and are now focusing on perfecting their more difficult stunts. Photos: Raymond Ooi/ The Star

No eleventh hour rush: The team completed all their choreography before March and are now focusing on perfecting their more difficult stunts. Photos: Raymond Ooi/ The Star

What are your thoughts on the cheerleading scene in Malaysia?

Cheerleading in Malaysia has improved a lot throughout the years. There are many new teams every year, and many new divisions as well. Cheerleading in Malaysia started off with All Girls teams, All Boys and Junior teams, but now, the sport has expanded and increased to Co-Ed divisions, Pee Wee, Cheer Pom divisions and many more! Cheerleading is obviously becoming increasingly popular here.

What are your chances of winning CHEER 2015?

We are confident of grabbing the title as we are working really hard for CHEER 2015. We’ve sacrificed our weekends, sometimes public holidays and school holidays to practice at school. Although we have many new members in the team this year, we have faith that we can work together and put on an awesome and impressive performance for everyone!

Catch Hor Hew’s team in action at CHEER 2015 on Aug 15 at the Sunway Pyramid Convention Centre! Admission is free.

For more information on CHEER 2015, click here.

Celebrity cheerleaders

George W. Bush

This definitely came as a surprise. The former 43rd president of the United States of America was a cheerleader during his senior in Phillips Academy, an independent boarding school in Andover, Massachusetts. Way to go, Mr President!

Halle Berry

During her time at Bedford High School in Cleveland, Ohio, she became captain of her school’s cheerleading squad. Halle was also the editor of the school newspaper and class president. Clearly, she was a woman to be reckoned with even then.

Did you know?

The popular cheerleading move Herkie, was named after Lawrence Herkimer, the founder of the National Cheerleaders Association. The jump was invented accidentally, because Herkimer wasn’t able to do another position properly.

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