THEY came in with style and dazzled the audience with a vibrant performance before walking away with the US$15,000 (RM60,915) cash prize as winners of the 13th Genting World Lion Dance Championship.
For winning team Kun Seng Keng Dragon and Lion Dance Association Muar, this was also their 11th win out of the 13 Genting World Lion Dance championships so far.
As defending champions, the team was not required to go through the two days of preliminary rounds. Instead, they went straight into the competition rounds over the three-day event held between July 20 and 22.
The winning team performing a breathtaking stunt during their well-choreographed routine.
A total of 36 teams participated including two other teams from Malaysia, out of which the best 11 teams qualified for the finals after the preliminaries.
The Muar team grabbed the attention of the audience when its team members appeared clad in football attire, wearing jerseys and shorts.
Then, they unveiled a giant football, leaving the audience puzzled as the lion was nowhere to be seen.
However, a big applause broke out among the audience of 3,000 at the Genting Arena when the lion made its sudden appearance from a box beneath the football.
Association chairman Tan Chong Hing said the theme was inspired by the recently concluded FIFA World Cup 2018.
Participants from the Alumni Organization of Yinge Junior High School from Chinese Taipei showing off their balancing prowess.
He said they had wanted to create a vibrant mood among the audience as expectations were high.
“However, I am glad our performance was on par with the glamorous appearance we made,” he said, adding that the team members worked doubly hard to prepare for the championship.
Alumni Organization of Yinge Junior High School from Chinese Taipei walked away with US$8,000 (RM32,483.60) as the second prize-winner and Singapore’s Yi Wei Athletic Association A team won the US$5,000 (RM20,302.25) third prize.
The teams that made it to the final were Pertubuhan Tarian Singa Dan Naga Hong Teik Alor Star, Kedah, Myanmar Black Pearl Lion Dance Troupe, China Guangzhou Panyu Dinggen Dragon & Lion Dance Troupe, Viet Nam Tinh Anh Duong The Duc Hoi, Hong Kong Lee Yun Fook Lion Dance Team, Vietnam Hainam Lien Huu Sports Association, FOBI Kong Ha Hong, Team Indonesia and Pertubuhan Kebudayaan Kesenian and Kesukanan Tawau Sabah.
Team members of the Kun Seng Keng Lion and Dragon Association Muar appeared in football attire with a giant football, much to the delight of the audience.
The teams from Singapore and the US were awarded the East Lion King Champions and West Lion King Champions respectively.
Genting Malaysia Bhd promotions and entertainment vice- president Kevin Tann said this year’s event was successful with a packed, vociferous crowd of 10,000 people watching the performances at the arena over all three days of the competition.
“Ten teams scored over nine points to make it to the finals and this is the first time it has happened.
“It shows the standard of the championship has increased,” he said.
Champion Kun Seng Keng Lion and Dragon Association Muar, Johor posing with the champions and challenge trophy. — Photos: M. AZHAR ARIF/The Star
Tann said the prize money for this year’s event had also been increased from US$27,000 (RM109,552.50) last year to US$40,000 (RM162,300) in order to make it more attractive.
“Our championship could be considered as the ‘FIFA World Cup of lion dances’ in terms of its prestige,” he added.
The Alumni Organization of Yinge Junior High School from Chinese Taipei clinched the second prize to walk away with US8,000.
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