Younger kids’ time to shine

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 15 Aug 2018

Practice makes perfect: Ong helping young participants with the bridge position during a Cheer 2018 workshop at Quill City Mall last month.

KUALA LUMPUR: After years of watching from the sidelines, primary school pupils can finally break into cheers as a new category for them has been added to Cheer 2018, Malaysia’s biggest cheerleading competition.

The Cheer 2018 Pee Wee Level 1 category would be good exposure for primary school teams, said SJK(C) Lai Meng’s Team Venus coach Sebastian Kor.

“It shows how fast the sport has grown over the years and kids will have more major competitions to look forward to,” he said.

Entering its 19th year, the addition will see 10 Pee Wee teams competing alongside the secondary school and university level categories at the Cheer 2018 final, which will take place this Saturday (8am-7pm) at Quill City Mall.

“It’s great to have this category in Cheer 2018 as it is the best platform to create awareness among the public about cheerleading.

“It will show parents of this age group that this sport is suitable for children,” said SJK(C) Puay Chai cheerleading coach Candy Ong.

Noting that safety is of the utmost concern, the routines performed by the primary school pupils will be at the basic level.

“They will perform cheerleading Level 1, which is the foundation level. This ensures the safety and suitability of skills for their age and physical development,” said Cheer­lead­ing Association and Register of Malaysia (Charm) founder and managing director Jaymee Tan.

Unlike the older teams, teaching kids as young as six can be a challenge on its own.

“Their levels of comprehension and physical fitness vary largely. The difference between seven-year-old kids and 12-year-olds is quite big, so keeping them on the same pace requires a lot of balance on the coach’s part,” Ong said.

The judging criteria for the primary school level is similar to the other categories except for the exclusion of the toss element.

“Judges look for execution, difficulty and creativity in their cheer, stunts, pyramids and tumbling as well as the flow and overall impression of the routine,” said Tan.

As for keeping their heads cool for the competition, both coaches and parents have a vital role to play.

“Have a goal. Stay focused. Cut back on training and be fully rested the day before the competition. Finally, stay hydrated,” advised Kor.

The 10 Pee Wee teams are Angels (SK Convent Bukit Nanas 1), Bears (SJK (C) Lick Hung), Phoenix (SJK (C) Puay Chai), Venus (SJK (C) Lai Meng), Sharks (SJK (C) Chung Hwa (P)), Shooting Stars (SJK (C) Taman Connaught), Little Lynx (SK Bukit Damansara), Little Twinkles (SJK (C) Khe Beng), Twinkles (SJK (C) Khe Beng) and Matrix (SK Bandar Utama Damansara 4).

Cheer 2018 is organised by Star Media Group. The event sponsor is Appeton Teengrow and the official venue sponsor is Quill City Mall KL.

The prize sponsor is Sunway Education Group and the product sponsors are Sunway Lost World Of Tambun, Kao Malaysia, F&N, EIG Pharma Asia, Shopee and Reckitt Benckiser.

The event is sanctioned by Charm.

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