‘Real’ cheer­lead­ers more than dancers

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By EMMA BEER

The Hur­ri­canes rugby team ‘‘cheer­lead­ers’’ do not de­serve that de­scrip­tion, say Welling­ton’s real cheer­lead­ers.

The Hur­ri­canes’ cheer­lead­ers and sim­i­lar groups gave peo­ple the wrong idea about cheer­lead­ing, ac­cord­ing to Tawa-based Jemma Hutchin­son, 19, and Em­maJane Korte­gast, 18.

‘‘They’re not re­ally cheer­lead­ers, they’re dancers,’’ says Hutchin­son.

Hutchin­son and Korte­gast are trained cheer­lead­ers who per­form rou­tines – in­clud­ing mid-air spins and tucks – and com­pete.

Cheer­lead­ing was a sport that re­quired a lot of train­ing and pre­ci­sion, Hutchin­son says.

‘‘ Peo­ple are say­ing that cheer­lead­ing’s not a sport, but it’s be­cause they see those [Hur­ri­canes] dancers as cheer­lead­ers.

‘‘That’s kind of where the stereo­type comes from.

‘‘ But they haven’t seen what it’s ac­tu­ally like. It’s a lot of hard work.’’

A pre­dom­i­nantly Amer­i­can sport, cheer­lead­ing has made its way to Tawa, and is pro­duc­ing some great tal­ent.

Hutchin­son, who stud­ies pho­tog­ra­phy and graphic de­sign at Welling­ton In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy, has been cheer­lead­ing for four years.

She said she be­gan do­ing gym from an early age, train­ing 16 hours a week.

When she quit, she wanted to keep those skills go­ing.

‘‘Cheer­lead­ing’s a lot more so­cial [than gym]. ‘‘It’s a team sport.’’ Korte­gast, who stud­ies ar­chi­tec­ture at Vic­to­ria Univer­sity, has been cheer­lead­ing for five years.

‘‘I’d al­ways done gym. I’m not re­ally good at ball sports,’’ she says. ‘‘There’s a lot of pres­sure. ‘‘If one per­son mucks up then it’s just go­ing to fail.’’

Korte­gast is a ‘‘flyer’’ and gets thrown in the air to per­form twists and flips.

The young women train at Bi­gair gym in Tawa and are part of the se­nior team.

They re­cently won the duo divi­sion of the na­tional Cheer­fest competition.

They cre­ated their own rou­tine, and trained to­gether for just un­der a month.

Though they say they prob­a­bly left it a bit late, they were ex­cited about their win.

Hutchin­son, a ‘‘lifter’’, said competition was help­ful be­cause it gave the cheer­lead­ers some­thing to work to­wards.

‘‘It’s about achiev­ing things as well. That’s my first cheer­lead­ing tro­phy,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s pretty in­spi­ra­tional. It’s sitting in my room and I al­ways look at it and I’m like, ‘I wanna train re­ally hard and get an­other one at next comp’.’’

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