Photo essay: The UAE's soaring Allstars cheerleading team

The group hope to one day represent the country in international competitions

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The Allstars cheerleading squad began in February last year as a small group of people practising in a park, but has now grown into a team with the aim of one day competing on the international circuit.

Amy Todd is a former athlete and the founder of the group, who has previous experience of cheerleading. She says upon moving to the UAE she was unable to find any teams to join that allowed her to pursue her ambition.

"I was previously an athlete and managed to come fifth in the world with my team in London," Todd, 33, tells The National. "So I was hoping to come here and continue cheerleading, but there was no cheerleading team so I had to create one."

These days, the Allstars cheerleading squad has grown in numbers. In March it held its first youth camp, which included children aged 5 to 17. Participants were divided into groups where each group practised for two hours a day.

After getting enough people to join, the group has started to practise weekly. Tuesdays are for adults while Sundays are for children. Practice lasts an hour and a half each day in Dubai Investments Park.

Although the AllStars are hoping to participate in competitions abroad, they are currently unable to do so because they do not have enough Emiratis on the team. To receive support from the government, they need to have at least three so that they can represent the country on the international stage.

If they manage to do that, they will be the first international cheerleading team from the Middle East, because, as yet, there are no countries in the region participating in these competitions. Todd says the team are easily able to make sure the uniforms are also culturally appropriate and representative of the region.

"We want to show our sport is inclusive and its enjoyed by every culture," she says. "We want to bring the Middle Eastern version of it to the world."

Updated: October 27, 2023, 6:01 PM