SHAH ALAM: The announcement of Shirtliff's Cheer 2003 victory was greeted by deafening screams and free-flowing tears in the Malawati Stadium.
The 14-member squad from SMK Seri Bintang Utara, Kuala Lumpur gained the edge over 24 other participating teams with their smooth routine, which included a fast dance and several stunts.
In addition to the cheerleading trophy, the team won RM5,000 cash, a Johnson & Johnson's Clean & Clear hamper worth RM300, and a Ribena hamper worth RM200.
The victory was especially sweet for the two-time champions, who had lost the title last year. They were last victorious in 2001.
“I am glad we got the trophy back for our school,” squad captain Amelia Nahar, 17, said.
She added that the competition was stiff and they were not completely confident of winning.
First runner-up Dynamitez from SMK Damansara Jaya won RM3,000 cash, a Clean & Clear hamper worth RM200 and a Ribena hamper worth RM100.
Defending champions Xavier from SMK Convent Bukit Nanas, Kuala Lumpur emerged second runner-up, winning RM2,000 cash, a Clean & Clear hamper worth RM100 and a Ribena hamper worth RM50.
Members of the top three teams also received a medal and a certificate each.
The Best Showmanship award went to Sellors from SMK St Mary (Kuala Lumpur), who received RM500 and a RM200 Clean & Clear hamper. SMK Seafield's Vulcanz won the Best Newcomer award, bagging RM500 and a RM200 Clean & Clear hamper. There were eight new teams in the competition this year.
The Titans, from SMJK Ave Maria Convent Ipoh, won the Best Dressed award with simple but sporty red-and-white uniforms. Each team member received Adidas vouchers worth RM300.
Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein presented the prizes to the winners.
“When we (the ministry) first launched this annual competition in 2000, I didn't think it would pick up as fast as it has,” he told reporters later.
“I would like to see more teams outside the Klang Valley participating in the coming year.”
Of the 25 squads this year, only two were from outside the Klang Valley – one from Genting Highlands (Pahang) and the other from Ipoh.
Chief judge Phillip Rowlands from Team Britain, the British Cheerleading Association's national display squad, said the quality of cheerleading had improved much compared to last year. Rowlands was also chief judge for Cheer 2002.
The other judges were Bonnie Crow, Lianne Millward and Debbie Kiff from Team Britain, Choo Kim Lian from the Malaysian Gymnastics Federation, and reigning Miss Malaysia/Universe Elaine Daly, who judged the Best Dressed category.
As the scores were tabulated, the crowd was entertained by performances from the Selangor state gymrama team, the Sekolah Sri Kuala Lumpur school band, and cheerleading by the Taylor's College cheerleading squad Taurens and the Cheerleading Association of Malaysia's All-Stars. The Mix.fm Ford Extreme Roadrunners made an appearance during lunch break.
Cheer 2003, the only inter-school cheerleading competition, was co-organised by The Star Youth2 and skincare brand Clean & Clear with the support of the Youth and Sports Ministry and the Education Ministry.
The Star group chief editor Datuk Ng Poh Tip, Star Publications (M) Bhd advertising and business development general manager Datin Linda Ngiam, Johnson & Johnson Malaysia managing director Jun Allie, and Johnson & Johnson marketing director Winnie Khor also attended the event.