Sport writer Kieren Williams reports on the UoB Kickboxing Team's latest competition successes in a four-part special for Redbrick Sport, in Part 4, he reports on the evening of finals for UoBWritten by KierenJWilliams on 4th May 2018
Birmingham Pussycats Perform at Xplosion Event
Guest writer Molly Sutton discusses the cheerleading aspect of one of the universities biggest sports events, Xplosion.
Every year, the Birmingham Lions are supported by thousands of fans at their largest event of the year, XpLosION.
Most notably, the Birmingham Pussycats standby on the pitch to support the team throughout the match and at half-time with their performance. XpLosION is a huge event for the cheerleading team, as it is the first and only time in the year that all members of the team train and perform together,before they will split into four teams to compete for, and in defence of, their national championship titles.
The match provides a setting where the cheerleaders can continue their support for the lions, but also utilise the student crowd to gain publicity and an audience to see their work. The team puts in hours of training and choreography to train the newest members how to stunt, dance and tumble, showcasing an array of new skills on the pitch before the crowd. As a completely student led sports team that only compete twice a year, xpLosION is great coverage for the pussycats and allows other students and spectators to witness what great work the girls do.
This year, coaches Olivia Roche, Becks Roddy, Charlotte Chaston and Jessie Albutt pulled off an incredible performance that impressed the crowd and ex-cheerleaders alike, by renovating the usual routine to add a unique touch. The brand new, innovative stunt section was executed to a high standard which was synchronised and impressive to behold. This year, the team had the biggest intake of freshers they had ever had, and therefore utilised the small preparation time available to them to teach many new members cheer skills from scratch.
“'The many elements of the performance really showed what cheer was all about, and identified the team in their own right as a separate, autonomous sports team to the American Football Club.'
In particular, the tumbles of 4 athletes, led by tumble coach Valentina Oxley, impressed the crowds and really emphasised the talent of the girls on this team. Although the performance was the pussycats shining moment of the event, Ginny Dearn led the team throughout the rest of the match to cheer for, and encourage the plays of the Lions against the opposing team, Portsmouth.
The pussycats will now be splitting into their competing teams- pom, hip-hop, competition and jazz- to train for their University Nationals in February where they are sure to place highly.
Written by Molly Sutton