More than 120 cheerleaders and 40 cheerleading coaches from several countries took part in Malaysia’s first-ever cheerleading camp and coaches conference, Cheer Jam 2008.
It was held at Universiti Malaya and split into two segments – a cheerleading camp (Dec 11 to 13), and coaches conference (Dec 13 to 14).
Cheer Jam 2008 was organised by the Cheerleading Association and Register of Malaysia (Charm), the official national governing body for cheerleading in Malaysia, with TM as the official sponsor, and supported by Celebrity Fitness with 8TV as the official media partner.
Top cheerleading experts from the International Cheer Union (ICU) and National Council for Spirit Safety and Education (NCSSE) were flown in to present and to teach participants from Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Australia, South Korea and Ukraine.
“We are here to observe and learn about cheerleading in Malaysia. We also hope to forge relationships and invite Malaysians to take part in cheerleading competitions in Australia and vice-versa,” National Cheerleading Programme manager Nerine Cooper said. She is also from the Australian Cheerleading Union, the governing body for cheerleading in Australia.
According to Charm president Beverley Hon, the camp was open to all ages and skill levels – from beginner to advanced level.
“The aim is to improve the level of cheerleading in Malaysia and the world. Cheerleaders who attended the camp learned a bit of everything – from core skills like jumps, tumbling, choreography, dance, stunting and pyramids to other skills like make-up, uniform design, first aid and team management.
“The coaches’ conference saw cheerleading coaches undergoing theory as well as hands-on practical sessions, with the option to sit for cheerleading certification exams at the end of the day.
“Malaysian cheerleaders have only known and experienced the very technical side of cheerleading from the short clinics and workshops that have been conducted so far. Cheer Jam 2008 was designed to educate them on other aspects as well as give them the full cheerleading training experience and more,” she said.
Among those who took part were Cheer 2008 champions Shirtliff from SMK Seri Bintang Utara, Kuala Lumpur. Team captain Nur Jehan Ahmad Shukri said she had been looking forward to such camps since she joined cheerleading.
“As it goes on, newcomers lack basic and the required momentum. Hence, the camp provides the training for newcomers on the proper way of cheerleading.
“The coaches would go to each team and point out their mistakes instead of just coaching in general. The organisers should keep this up,” said the 16-year-old.
Although the majority of participants were girls, there were quite a number of guys who took part as well, signifying the increasing involvement of guys in cheerleading.
One of them was Wong Wei Leang, a 15-year-old from Sekolah Sri Bestari, who felt that more guys should take part in cheerleading.
“Some of my male friends think it (cheerleading) is too gay but I think it’s cool so I just ignore their opinions,” he said.
On TM’s involvement, TM integrated marketing assistant general manager Zulkifli Shahari said: “We’ve always been involved in sports events such as the Monsoon Cup and many established sports. It’s time we tap into the younger market, hence our involvement in Cheer Jam 2008,” he said.
Cheer Jam 2008 ran from 9am to 5pm daily, with NCSSE certification courses offered from 6pm to 9pm daily.
The camp also featured guest trainers from Celebrity Fitness and The Body Shop who conducted dance/gym and make-up classes respectively at the camp while designer Karl Ng from the Malaysian Official Designer’s Association (MODA) conducted the Uniform Design segment.