NO ONE could have anticipated the level of buzz and pure adrenaline at Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil, KL last weekend. Well, no one who hasn’t been to a Cheer grand finals, that is.
For the cheerleaders and supporters who have been a part of the country’s premier inter-school cheerleading competition, that high level of excitement is nothing new.
In fact, it’s something they look forward to every year.
Friends, family members and teachers were out in full force to show their support for the teams competing at the two-day Cheer 2013 national finals – and they didn’t travel light.
The supporters came with placards, banners, drums and blare horns (and basically anything that could generate noise) to cheer not only for their respective teams, but in true cheerleading spirit, for the others as well. A total of thirty-six teams from across the country took part in Cheer 2013.
Students from SM Sri Kuala Lumpur, Selangor almost took over the stadium with their 600-strong crowd of supporters. Clad in their school colours – blue, black and white – the supporters cheered the loudest on both competition days, and the most when their teams – Rayvens and Cyrens – emerged as champions in their respective categories.
Rayvens took home the championship trophy for the All-Girls Junior Division, while Cyrens won the All-Girls Division.
The other top prize, the Co-Ed Division, was won by Mickeymitez from SMK Damansara Jaya, Selangor.
‘’The Cyrens put on a good performance on both days. They were consistent, and no team has won Cheer four years in a row. That says something about their training programme,” said Cheerleading Association and Registrar of Malaysia (CHARM) president Beverley Hon, who was the Cheer 2013 head judge.
“Their sister team Rayvens are also on the same path, and are proving to be a team to watch out for in the future.”
Hon added that Mickeymitez still need to polish up on their routine and work on progression.
“They were able to do the hardest stunts but wobbled when it came to doing the simpler ones. That shows that they have not worked on their progression.”
Hon also noted that some teams were not prepared for the Cheer 2013 finals.
“We had teams who came to us on the competition day asking the judges to watch videos (of their performances), to see if their stunts were illegal. That is something they should’ve clarified a month before the competition, not on the day itself.”
Most of the teams, however, certainly put up a good fight on both days, and it was hard not to be moved by the camaraderie in the arena during the event.
Several teams faltered during their routines, but the encouraging support from the audience got them back on their feet and they cheered on. And although the cheerleaders were under enormous pressure to produce flawless routines, they managed to keep their cool in the packed stadium.
However, it was a different scene backstage. Right after their performances, the cheerleaders rushed into the arms of their friends and coaches, shaking from the nerves, while others who didn’t perform so well just broke down and cried.
Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, attending Cheer for the first time, said he was impressed by the positive energy at Cheer 2013.
“This is what sports in Malaysia should be about. The energy, drive, commitment and sportsmanship is amazing!” he said in his speech.
“If our national football team had the same level of support, we would win the World Cup.”
The minister also got the crowd cheering when he joked that although he supports all the teams participating in Cheer 2013, he cannot say the same for his wife Nori Abdullah.
“She’s a former Convent Bukit Nanas student,” said Khairy, while looking at team Xavier, who were representing the school.
RedFM deejays Jeremy Teo and Linora Low kept the crowd excited and entertained with their friendly banter and antics. The duo organised various contests during the short breaks between performances, including a beatbox battle and a “split-off”. The supporters rushed out to the mat to take part in the games, with the winners (and losers) walking away with goodie bags.
“The energy level is always high at Cheer, and that’s why I love doing this gig!” said Teo.
“The teams are better this year and it’s great to see how much they have accomplished since the last time they competed.
“But the best part about Cheer is the audience. Their energy and high spirit is something that makes me want to come back every year!”
Cheer 2013 was organised by R.AGE and presented by MARIGOLD HL Low Fat Milk. Silkygirl was the main sponsor and Sugus was the co-sponsor. Red FM was the official radio station. This was the 14th edition of Cheer.