Cheerleading set for growth

HARARE - For so long, cheerleaders have been known among the very first group of people to arrive at sports events in order to provide entertainment before the main act.

However, the Zimbabwe Cheerleaders Association (ZCA) is vigorously pushing for the discipline to be recognised as a sport in its own right.

ZCA recently held an all-inclusive cheerleaders’ gala which is now running in its fourth year at Girls High School basketball courts in Harare.

The event, sponsored by local ticketing conveyance company — National Tickets — attracted over 20 primary and secondary schools; a testimony of how the new sport is growing in the country.

ZCA’s efforts have also been boosted by the fact that cheerleading has been introduced in the schools’ curriculum under the mass displays category.

Blakiston emerged victorious overall in the primary schools category followed by Avondale and Avonlea in second and third place respectively while Cornelius Hope finished in fourth place.

In the secondary school section, the hosts Girls High won the group stunt category while Roosevelt and Queen Elizabeth settled for second and third place respectively.

ZCA chairperson Brenda Magama said cheerleading is destined to scale dizzy heights locally.

“The kids are receiving it quite well especially the high school girls and right now we have introduced it to the boys because they get to carry the girls and pop them in the air but for the primary kids it’s a bit tricky because you have to get approval from the parents,” Magama told the Daily News on Sunday.

“This fourth year has, however, seen parents warming up to the sport . . . we have seen them now loosening up their grip and bringing their kids to cheerleading training.

“We started off the competition with only three schools four years ago but now we have over 20 schools . . . we have gone as far as Lomagundi and Hillcrest in Mutare.

“We will be going to Kwekwe soon and to Bulawayo next year.”

Another reason why parents seemed not to warm-up to the sport was because of the skimpy outfits worn by the cheerleaders.

“It has been difficult especially with our uniforms because some parents are too cultural,” Magama said.

“They seem to think that our uniforms are too short but we have a reason why our uniforms have to be short which is why they wear hot pants or tight shots inside so that when they do their routines; people won’t see their undergarments.

“For the uniforms it’s been tricky but we have now explained ourselves to the ministry, parents and to the schools and they now understand why we have to wear this type of uniforms.

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