By GINGER ANG
Genevieve Liew Shan Jun
School: Sri Kuala Lumpur
You’d think that captaining the reigning five-time CHEER champs would faze anyone. But not Genevieve Liew – she’s been juggling cheerleading duties and her studies with aplomb since she was 13! Ready to lead the Cyrens to victory for the sixth time in a row, her team has been training for CHEER 2015 since two weeks after the CHEER 2014 finals!
> When did you develop your passion for cheerleading?
I remember being intrigued by cheerleading movies when I was just a toddler. It’s hard not to fall in love with this sport, although it’s not all the glitz and glamour everyone thinks it is. Every member of the team is important and the feeling of being a part of something so united is incredible. It’s even better when the team achieves something together.
> What is your daily routine like?
I go to school, have practice right after that, go for tuition, and then settle down to do some school work. I usually spend a few hours doing cheer research after that, depending on how late it is. My body is used to functioning with just a few hours of sleep.
> How do you come up with the stunts and who decides what to perform?
The captains do a lot of research online and then share it with each other and the coaches. Everyone then separates the good ideas from the bad ones. At the end, our coach decides which stunts look good and makes the final decision. We have no problem with that as we believe that she knows best. It’s a collaborative effort.
> What advice would you give to students interested in picking up this sport?
Be ready for a wild ride. Cheerleading will test your limits both mentally and physically. But the pros of the sport most certainly outweigh the cons. It will be an amazing experience that you will never regret and definitely never forget.
> How supportive has your school been in your team’s involvement with CHEER?
The entire school has been very supportive – from the CEO, to the principal, teachers and students. The school has supported us by providing equipment such as a full-sized competition mat, and paying for the coaching expenses and uniforms. Our lovely supporters, the SCARS (Sri KL Cyrens and Rayvens Supporters), have won the best supporters award thrice. Before the competition, they put their hearts and souls into preparing banners, holding pep rallies and getting everyone pumped up for the event. During the competition, their enormous energy drives us to perform our best. Even after the competition, their support continues.
School: Sri Kuala Lumpur
Lee Cher-Maine’s got a lot to live up to. As current captain of the Sri KL Rayvens (also known as the sister team of five-time and current CHEER champions Cyrens), she’s looking to make it three wins in a row for her team in the Junior Division. All 16 girls on the team are working doubly hard to nail their killer routine, and we wish them loads of luck!
> How are your team’s preparations for CHEER 2015 going so far?
It’s been good so far. Our team has many new members but they’re determined and hard-working, so we’re progressing well!
> How do you strike a balance between studying and cheer practice?
For studies, I focus and try to absorb what I can in class to understand the topic properly while it’s being taught. I also take down notes to make it easier for me to revise and try to finish my homework in school. After I get home from cheer practice, I’ll finish up what’s left of the work. Sometimes I’ll wake up early and complete my work in the morning.
> How long does it take to perfect the routine?
Honestly? It depends on the difficulty of the routine and the individual abilities of the girls, but it took us up to one and a half months to perfect our Asia Cheerleading Invitational Championships routine.
> What sacrifices have you made for the sake of cheerleading?
A lot of time has to be spent on cheerleading. For example, attending practices, staying back to perfect stunts, even staying up late to settle things for the team. Sometimes trips, holidays or gatherings have to be sacrificed for cheerleading too, especially when competition season is near.
> What is vital to helping you stay focused on cheerleading?
I’d think the strength that keeps me focused is the sport itself. Cheerleading is perky, high-spirited and interesting to watch but also a tough sport. There’s always room for improvement and that’s what hooks me: the need to strive to achieve something and to move on to more difficult goals. I love the sense of achievement you get and the feeling of working together with my girls to get better.