Cheerleaders win golds in world champs

By Martin Johnston

New Zealand has beaten America at its own game in the world cheerleading championships in Florida.
New Zealand has beaten America at its own game in the world cheerleading championships in Florida.

New Zealand cheerleaders have won two international titles at the World Championships in the United States.

The wins are a first for New Zealand, which has sent teams to the competition since 2005.

Watch: Team NZ wins cheerleading gold

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Two of the All Star Cheerleaders' top squads - an all-girl team and a mixed team - took first place in their elite divisions in the International Cheer Union competition.

"I couldn't be more proud of what the girls and guys have achieved," said Kimberley Ramsay, the owner of All Star Cheerleaders, a national company of more than 1500 cheerleaders.

More than 30,000 cheerleaders from 70 countries took part in the championships at the Walt Disney Resort in Florida on Thursday and Friday.

Mrs Ramsay said the win put New Zealand on the world cheerleading map and she hoped it would increase interest and encourage children to take up the sport, which had grown "exponentially" over just a few years.

"The biggest misconception is people think cheerleading is dancing on the side of a rugby or sports field with pom poms. We actually don't use pom poms because our routines are filled with [doing stunts], tumbling and amazing athletic skills."

Mrs Ramsay said the teams had spent more than 60 hours a week training. "They have achieved this through sheer dedication, determination and discipline."

- NZ Herald

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