The national cheerleading championships are held annually at the Motorpoint Arena in the Lace Market of Nottingham.
Over 100 teams from across England, Scotland and Wales travelled to Nottingham in the hope of taking home a national title. Winners also get a bid to Battle of the Champions a brand new competition ‘where the best of the best compete against each other to find out who is the true champion’.
Amongst those who won is All-Star team East Midlands Cheerlading Academy (EMCA) from Nottingham, England.
The EMCA Killer Queens are a competitive level 5 team who have successfully won a bid to the World Championships in Orlando, USA for 2019. This is the first time the team have won such an award where they will help represent the UK in cheerleading.
it will be an honour to represent our country in April at the Cheerleading World Championships
Helena Zarzycki, head coach of EMCA
The All-Girl team had to compete against 8 other teams with a varied routine of stunts, tumbles, jumps and dance. EMCA Killer Queens were the underdogs of this competition, pushing out big names like Crimson Heat, Gymfinity and Surrey Starlets for the national title.
Helena Zarzycki, the head coach of EMCA said “it will be an honour to represent our country in April at the Cheerleading World Championships. This is the first year that we’ve won a bid to the competition so we don’t know what to expect”.
Throughout the weekend Unity Allstars from Surrey, England also successfully gained three at-large bids to the world championships as well as 4 other 1st places in youth teams who compete from the age of 6.
At the end of the competition cheerleaders from all teams paid their respects to Rob Anker, a former Diversity dancer and cheerleader who tragically died in a fatal car crash in Canada.
The national championships organised by company ICC is the biggest competition of the season where over 3000 athletes competed over one weekend. Although cheerleading is growing every year, the question still looms whether cheerleading is truly a sport.
As a sport, Cheerleading is growing rapidly but off the mat, there is more than meets the eye:
- In 2010 a Department of Education report said that 37% of schools were offering cheerleading as an extracurricular option physical education choice
- Team England won gold last year at the ICU World Championships
- 66% of “catastrophic” sports-related injuries among women in the US are due to cheerleading