Theobald sees world glory

October 21, 2021 BY

Flawless: Lady Reign won the IASF World Championship in the International Open fifth division after hitting a zero. Photo: SUPPLIED

AN empty gym in the inner Melbourne suburb of Northcote recently played host to Lady Reign being crowned cheerleading world champions, but the connection to Bendigo is strong.

Local Maddy Theobald has been training and competing with the Melbourne-based team for seven years and while the event looked a little different, the achievement is all the same.

The IASF 2021 World Championships, usually held in the United States, were run virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with teams required to film their routine

Theobald said they team had been waiting for the another crack at the title since they placed seventh in the competition in 2017, and fifth in 2019.

“Bringing home the win after so many years of dedication and commitment it was unreal,” she said.

“I had imagined what that moment would be like a thousand times in my head and to actually experience it was something else.”

Theobald travels to Melbourne three times a week to train with her team.

Bendigo local Maddy Theobald travels to Melbourne three times a week to train with the team.

Earlier in the year, the IOC recognised cheerleading as an Olympic sport, meaning the team were granted permits to be able to train in person.

But performing without a crowd brought a “unique challenge” Theobald said.

“Usually we’d be over there, watching and really vibing off the crowd,” she said.

“Cheerleading is a performance sport so we do vibe off the crowd usually at a competition but we really had to focus on performing in an empty gym for ourselves.

“It was a very unique experience but I’m very grateful we even got the opportunity to do this if we couldn’t actually go over there.”

The team won in division five of the International Open, competing against 15 countries including France, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Teams had two days to compete, with two attempts allowed, and Theobald said on day two they hit a zero, performing a flawless run.

Lady Reign’s victory was made sweeter by the challenges the team overcame.

“We had a team member that was at a tier one exposure site the day before filming and had to isolate for 14 days,” Theobald said.

“We had to get a replacement for her within 24 hours of filming and have an emergency training and she just slotted in perfectly and we pulled it off.”

Theobald said the team will work on skill building as it prepares to compete at the next worlds event anticipated for April 2022.

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