An international cheerleading competition is set to bring over 18,000 people to Bournemouth this summer.
The FC Cheer and Dance Internationals, held at Bournemouth’s International Centre in July, will attract competitors from around the globe and contribute over £5 million to Bournemouth’s tourism industry.
Director of the competition’s organisers, Future Cheer, Ian Crow, said: “We’re very pleased to bring this event to Bournemouth, we see it as an ideal location for everyone in the competition, particularly because of how family orientated the event is.”
“Last year the competition attracted 16,000 people to Bournemouth, but early indications suggest it could increase to over 18,000 this year,” Mr Crow said.
The event will attract teams from as far as Sweden and the USA, who will be competing for the chance to qualify for the World International tournament in Florida early next year.
Despite the international nature of the competition, teams from around Dorset will also be competing, hoping to benefit from the home crowd’s support.
“We love being the home team, it’s brilliant,” said Gemma Ward, head coach of Dorset Dragons, based in Poole.
The Dragons became national senior all-girl champions at last year’s event, and are hoping to extend their success when they enter 3 teams comprising over 60 kids at the competition this July.
But both Mr Crow and Ms Ward hope events such as the internationals this summer will help distance cheerleading from the stereotypes that often follow it.
“It is a sport,” said Mr Crow, “not cow girls or half time entertainment, comparisons like that couldn’t be further from the truth.”
Main image courtesy: gingerchrismc, Flickr