'A roller coaster without a safety belt'

It has been eight years since Ms Jasmine Neo, 27, started cheerleading and she still feels thrilled each time she "flies" in the air.

Ms Neo, who was a gymnast in her school days at Zhonghua Secondary, moved on to cheerleading when she enrolled in Temasek Polytechnic.

After a year in its cheer team, she moved to independent team Wildcards Cheerleading and, after six years there, joined Nova All-Stars.

She was also in Team Singapore 2013, established to represent Singapore in the International Cheer Union Asia Open Cheerleading Championships in Tokyo in September that year.

Ms Neo is a flyer, a cheerleading role in which she is lifted into the air during a stunt by bases, who are cheerleaders who hold up the flyers.

 

"I love flying... Being able to do stunts on a person's hands. The thrill of free falling when stunting... Not every sport can give you this experience," she said.

"Flying feels like riding a roller coaster without a safety belt, though, of course, there are spotters below checking for our safety."

As part of Nova All-Stars, Ms Neo competed in the team category and partner stunt category in both the 2016 Cheerleading Association of Singapore National Cheerleading Championships and the Asia Cheerleading Invitational Championships and emerged champion.

"When you're thrown up in the air you're all alone and in charge of your stunt and the feeling is amazing," she enthused.

Ms Teo with her cheerleading partner Tan Ka Hau. Ms Teo is a flyer, a cheerleader who is lifted into the air during stunts. Her cheerleading started in Temasek Polytechnic, where she joined its cheer team for a year.
Ms Neo with her cheerleading partner Tan Ka Hau. Ms Neo is a flyer, a cheerleader who is lifted into the air during stunts. Her cheerleading started in Temasek Polytechnic, where she joined its cheer team for a year. PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Correction Note: An earlier version of this story said that the name of the cheerleader is Ms Jasmine Teo. Her name is Ms Jasmine Neo. We are sorry for the error.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 28, 2016, with the headline ''A roller coaster without a safety belt''. Print Edition | Subscribe