Cheesy chanting or a serious sport? A group of passionate Penrith Fixers, who’re tired of cheerleading clichés, are encouraging people to give the activity more respect.
Their story was broadcast on ITV News Lookaround on Thursday 9th January.
Fixers Emily Jones (17) and Chloe Hogarth (16) are leading the campaign to get more recognition for the activity they love.
They say many people fail to realise the skill involved and just how gruelling cheerleading can be on the body.
‘People faint. A lot of people are injured,’ says Emily.
‘It’s straining on your body. You don’t only train in class, you train at home as well. Whether it’s to improve strength, flexibility or even just choreography, it does help. It is very much a sport in my eyes.’
The duo, who both compete in cheerleading competitions, are holding an event with Fixers to raise awareness and show the public just how physically challenging it can be.
‘We want to get, especially boys from other sports such as football and rugby, to try it out and switch roles. We want them to try cheerleading and for us to try their sport,’ adds fellow Fixer Chloe.
In the broadcast piece, they speak with Lindsay Sander of Cumbria University, who explains the athletic elements of cheerleading.
‘What you’ve got to remember is that the concept of sport is actually derived from play,’ says Ms Sander.
‘Towards the sporting end, what you’ve got are rules governing it and more of a structured framework. And then of course you’ve got competition.
‘Anything can be a sport providing that it’s competitive and governed by rules and it’s got that sort of framework.’