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See NZ’s first International Cheerleading Event!

27 October 2006

See NZ’s first International Cheerleading Event!

This Sunday 29th October 12:30pm at the North Shore Events Centre in Auckland sees New Zealand’s first international cheerleading competition.

Presented in partnership with the New Zealand Cheerleading Association (NZCA), the first All Star Cheerleading Internationals are kicking off at Glenfield’s North Shore Events Centre this Sunday at 12:30pm and will be televised on Sky Sport in December.

With the addition of teams from Australia, this year’s fourth annual National competition has now become New Zealand’s first International Championship. If last years’ National competition was anything to go by, about 2000 spectators will be there to watch over 35 teams and 500 competitors vie for the seven divisional titles. There are also opportunities for entrants to compete for several individual titles, including the coveted “Cheerleader of the Year”.
“What you will see at the All Star Internationals are a group of highly skilled athletes in top physical shape, aged between 5 & 35 performing a variety of stunts, tumbles, jumps, cheers and dances. Their high energy routines are physically and mentally demanding, as well as exciting to watch!” says Kimberley Ramsay, president of the NZCA.

Cheerleading is one of the fastest growing team sports in America and the UK and is now enjoying a new profile in New Zealand, with the number of participants rapidly growing over the past five years. Its newfound popularity has gained a lot of attention, with All Star Cheerleaders receiving sports coverage from both print and TV news; featuring on Dragon Den’s, Sport News; and recently appearing in the NZ Herald and Girlfriend magazine.
The speed of the growth of the sport in New Zealand has led to the New Zealand

Cheerleading Association being established to help promote and develop the sport here in New Zealand.

New Zealand has a wealth of untapped talent, according to Kimberley, who has been impressed with the Kiwi competitors she has worked with so far. In fact, this year Kimberley took 6 teams and over 80 cheerleaders to Australia this year to represent NZ at the premiere Australian event, and returned with 5 international championship titles, a fantastic result for such a young sport.

“Cheerleaders are athletes participating in a very competitive sport, a sport which is of course even more competitive with the addition of our Australian neighbours” laughs Kimberley, “The particular form of cheerleading that will be seen at the All Star Internationals requires a tremendous amount of coordination, strength and balance, combining elements of dance and gymnastics.”

Cheerleading gives girls in particular another option in terms of participating in a competitive sport. “Until now, netball has been viewed as the primary team sport for females in New Zealand,” Kimberley says. “Cheerleading is a great team sport for young people to get involved in. Not only does it promote physical fitness, it helps to build self confidence, raises self esteem, and encourages good sportsmanship, while teaching dedication, discipline, perseverance and leadership.”

The All Star Cheerleaders also hope to develop a contingent of male cheerleaders to work alongside the girls, aware of the popularity of the sport with guys in the US, particularly for high school and university athletes trying to keep in shape during the off-season.

Anyone interested in fast, dynamic and skilled trans-Tasman sporting competition is welcome to come along on Sunday, and those who do will be in store for an entertaining afternoon of performances. Doors open at the North Shore Event’s Centre at 12pm, with the competition getting underway at 12:30pm. Tickets can be purchased at the door (adults $10, children $5, and under 5’s free).

So go and see one of New Zealand’s fastest growing sports, at its international best.


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