Cheerleading grows as major event in Southern University Games | PHOTOS

Click or flick across for the Opening Ceremony and the first few days of the competition. 

THE Cube and Lauren Jackson Stadium were full of colour and excitement as hundreds of cheerleaders took part in a competition yesterday.

More than 300 university students filled the venues as they flipped, jumped and chanted for the judges.

The competition was the most popular event in the Southern University Games, according to project manager Ben King.

“It’s a growing sport,” he said.

“It was introduced in 2011 where we had 70-odd competitors.

“We’ve now got 314, which is by the far the biggest sporting event.

“It’s come a long way in the past four years.”

Mr King said all Victorian universities now had a cheerleading squad, and the sport was also proving popular in other states.

“There are a lot of reality dance shows at the moment,” he said.

“It’s also got a lot to do with the high school sector which then flows through to universities.

“It’s one of those sports that really engages with the crowd.

“The atmosphere is exciting, electric.”

Mr King said cheerleading was popular with people looking for “something that’s just a bit different to mainstream sports”.

Six judges assessed the teams’ routines, which lasted about three minutes.