Putri Nelissa Syafirah
Age: 17
Team: Xavier Senior
School: SMK Convent Bukit Nanas, KL

From cheer practice to Interact Club meetings, dance classes, tuition and school, Putri Nelissa does it all. She only gets her Sundays off and like any normal teenager, wishes she could spend more time chilling out with family and friends. But no matter how busy she is, she always makes sure she has plenty of time for cheerleading practice.

Putri has no intention of leaving the cheer scene even after school, and says cheerleading will forever be in her mind and heart. Photo: AZMAN GHANI/The Star

Putri has no intention of leaving the cheer scene even after school, and says cheerleading will forever be in her mind and heart. Photo: AZMAN GHANI/The Star

How do you balance studying and cheer practice?

I have to admit, being a fifth former is tedious. Frankly, I struggled a lot in the beginning trying to cope with all the activities I was involved in. People often tell me I should drop cheer because I have too much on my plate, but it is honestly the only thing that makes me feel truly alive. I try my best to pay 100% attention in class so I don’t have to study the same things again when I get back home and am tired. I also finish my homework at school and usually sleep early, like around 10.30pm and then wake up at 3.30am to do my revision. Sounds crazy but it works!

Have you experienced any injuries?

I was a rhythmic gymnast and I had a serious back injury from doing gymnastics moves. I endured the pain for two years and then decided to quit. My back wasn’t fully healed but I started joining cheerleading and they made me a flyer. Now, I sometimes get sharp pains in my back, especially a few weeks before a competition and I constantly have to go to the sports centre to get injections. But my love for the sport is much stronger than the pain, so I always resume practice after every injury.

What do you think the competition will be like this year?

I think every team is already putting their game face on for CHEER 2015. I’m sure many teams will have cool stunts like last year and I have a feeling that the competition is going to be tougher this year. The level of difficulty has increased for teams to pull off a killer routine – stunts, tumbling, jumps, every aspect of cheerleading has developed since the introduction of the sport. So, I’m sure many teams will be putting on awe-inspiring performances and I’m so excited for it!

Do you have anyone in cheerleading that you look up to?

Ryhan Haza, my cheer captain in 2013 who is now in Awesome Legends. Her transformation into an independent, strong, and powerful young lady makes me so proud to have gotten to know her personally and I really admire how inspiring she is.

What are your thoughts on the cheerleading scene in Malaysia?

Ultimately, we’re not acknowledged. Cheerleading is a sport that requires dedication, passion, and emotional and physical strength, just like any other sport out there. It’s obvious that most schools don’t give the sport and cheerleaders the recognition they deserve, but thankfully students are growing to understand what goes into cheerleading and are taking an interest in the sport. On the bright side, cheerleading in Malaysia is definitely evolving for the better, so hopefully we’ll be on par with cheerleading in the USA sooner or later.

How supportive has your school been in your team’s involvement with CHEER?

In our school, cheerleading isn’t as recognised as gymnastics and band. So we don’t get fully supported by the school. Our friends however, are supportive during the CHEER seasons, and come to the stadium and cheer us all the way. I love seeing the girls, and occasionally boys, decked out in green, black and gold. Their presence gives my girls a boost and helps ease their nerves.

Catch Putri’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

Kirsten Dunst

Kirsten Dunst

Kirsten Dunst was a cheerleader in Notre Dame High School, a private Roman Catholic high school in Los Angeles. This explains why she was such a natural as a cheerleader on the ultimate cheerleading flick, Bring It On!

Did you know?

In the movie Bring It On, most of the stunts performed in the final competition were actually banned at high school level, flyovers and stunts more than two bodies high included.



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Cheerleaders, parents, teacher advisors and coaches talk about the importance of a good support system in cheerleading.

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The cheerleaders brought their A-game to CHEER 2015, and so did the product sponsors!

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U Mobile and Clean & Clear did some cheerleading of their own by supporting CHEER 2015.

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The winning teams at CHEER 2015 took home a whole tonne of prizes thanks to some generous sponsors.

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R.AGE followed three cheerleaders back into their classrooms to see how they’re doing with their return to school, post-CHEER

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A breakdown of CHEER 2015 in numbers.

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From the cheerleaders to their supporters, CHEER 2015 showed us what passion and unity is all about.

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