1 May 2024

Kiwi cheerleading team win gold at world competition

5:13 pm on 1 May 2024
The All Stars Cheerleading Academy

The winning All Star Cheerleaders Academy All Girl team. Photo: Supplied

A New Zealand team has taken home gold at the Cheerleading World Championships in the US.

The 23-member All Star Cheerleaders Academy All Girl team is the first Kiwi team to win at the competition, which saw more than 550 teams from 21 countries compete.

Head coach Kimberley Ramsay told RNZ it was a "huge achievement".

"We've been coming to this competition for 19 years."

"It's a really hard competition to win, you have to be perfect, it was just massive."

The team, which is made up of young women from Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Taranaki and Christchurch, won the International All Girl Level 5 Division of the contest, beating competitors from Canada, England, Australia and Costa Rica.

Ramsay said the team was hoping for a place in the top five and so they were overwhelmed to discover they had won.

"We were beside ourselves, it was very unexpected," she said.

"We teach our athletes to be really gracious winners, and you clap for the team that comes second, but they literally just dropped to the floor and started crying. It was just mammoth."

The competition, held in Orlando, Florida, is split into a number of different divisions, based on gender, age and team size.

"We have a two and a half minute routine that involves a number of gymnastic skills, jumps, dance, lifts - if you've seen the show Cheer on Netflix, it's just like that… and pyramids," Ramsay said.

"It's all based on how perfect you do all that, and how well the routine is put together."

Ramsay said the team started training in November, though they could only manage a couple of hours a week together before Christmas.

"Then we really ramped it up in the three months before we headed over here, and put loads and loads of hours in.

"We also did a bootcamp which was 9am-9pm four days a week so lots and lots of training and lots of effort."

It also requires a lot of financial commitment: "It's a really expensive competition to attend, it's all self-funded."