Rousing the crowd
Thirty-five teams of cheerleaders slugged it out late last month for a chance to perform in the East Asian Games.
'Michael's Angels and Kenneth' from SHK St Michael's Primary School were the biggest winners, bringing home five awards, including the championship in the Hong Kong 2009 East Asian Games Inter-school Cheerleading Competition, which was held at the Tsing Yi Sports Centre. The team will entertain the crowd at the opening and closing ceremony of the East Asian Games in December.
'Smiles and confidence are what make us such a successful team,' said Kenneth Lau Chi-keung, physical education teacher and coach of the cheerleading team.
He added that the music, the dance moves, the cheers and smiles were all crucial elements in rousing the crowd, which, he pointed out, is the purpose of having cheerleaders.
'Most of our team members are track and field athletes with an abundance of experience in open sports tournaments. They are able to handle the big-stage pressure very well and are not shy at all with their performance,' said Mr Lau.
As well as being overall winners, 'Michael's Angels and Kenneth' also received 'The Best Performance Award', 'The Best Cheer Award', 'The Most Characteristic Costume Award' and 'The Best Team-Work Award'.
Mr Lau said he had customised the cheerleading performance.
'There are 23 sporting events in the East Asian Games, so we had 23 of our cheerleaders carrying sports equipment for them,' he said.
Sports associations and parents had provided support, he added, with donations of props for the cheerleaders. '[Parents] helped to make the costumes and props and were very supportive,' he said, noting that the real champions were the cheerleaders and their parents.
Team member and Primary Five student, Kelly Chan Kit-laam, said: 'It was a total team effort for us to be successful. Through this experience I have learned to be a better communicator. Every person has a different personality and I have learned to accommodate different people and develop team spirit.'
Kit-laam also said the training for the performance was hard work and the team had to put in a lot of effort. 'For two weeks we trained for 45 minutes at lunch time and 90 minutes after school. There were only 15 minutes for us to eat lunch before going back to class, but now I think it was worth it - not only for the glory, but because of the connection between school mates, teachers and parents, which was super.'
Meanwhile, Primary Six student and team member Li Tsz-ting said she would be in secondary school when the Games came around but would still do her best because it was a 'rare opportunity'.