NASA MARIA ENTABAN
CHEERLEADING has come a long way in Malaysia – not only do all-boy teams regularly participate in the annual Cheer competition, there is also a growing number of co-ed teams.
This year, a total of eight teams took part under the co-ed category, two of which were all-boys, the rest a mixture of boys and girls.
At last weekend’s championship, Zodiac Co-Ed from SMK Kepong, Kuala Lumpur, took home the winners trophy, while Tigers from SMK Datok Lokman, Kuala Lumpur, and Vulcanz Co-Ed from SMK Seafield, Subang Jaya, Selangor, were second and third.
With the strength and stability of the boys combined with the grace and flexibility of the girls these teams were a pleasure to watch.
There was no awkwardness, just pure professionalism and focus – team members knew their roles and performed them flawlessly.
Zodiac, a team that has been participating in Cheer since 2007, were confident they would finish on top.
“We have been training since October last year and after all the effort we’ve put in, we’re proud and happy that we won,” said Zodiac captain Patrick Lee Eng Meng, 17.
“Our stunts were high-difficulty and we executed them well. The main reason we did well was because all our members had perfect attendance, no one was allowed to be absent for any reason,” he added.
The Tigers, who took part in their second Cheer tournament this year, didn’t let the lack of experience stand in their way of taking home second prize.
Captain Kathleen Shayne Ong, 17, said the support from their school and friends and family were what drove them to work harder.
“We had strong guys as bases and at the same time our flyers were really light,” she said. “We didn’t have that much time to prepare together because of everyone’s schedules but we worked extra hard.”
“Teamwork is the most important thing, and we also never gave up through the challenges we faced.”
A strict schedule and gruelling training sessions may work for most teams, but for some, trust and being comfortable with your teammates is of the utmost importance.
Vulcanz co-captain Chew Jean said that the team owes its third place win to unity and trust.
“We are very relaxed and comfortable around one another,” said the 15-year-old. “The trust among teammates is most important to us, and the spirit of togetherness.”
“Of course during training we all had to work very hard. We gave it our everything,” she added.
“And for us, combining the boys’ strength and the girls’ ‘style’ was one of our strengths.”