Cheer win Varsity despite judges' mix up

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Controversy ruled one Varsity event last week when De Montfort Students’ Union’s cheerleading squad were awarded victory after a recount.

A misunderstanding on the part of the judges initially saw them give the victory to the University of Leicester Panthers, leaving members of DMU Saints disconsolate.

However, the Saints’ agony would eventually turn to ecstasy when the judges, after being made aware of their mistake, rightfully awarded them the win.

Ebby Offiah, club chair, explained the circumstances around the mix-up: “The judges were confused as to how I and the Leicester Panthers’ chair decided to score the event.

“It was meant to be on a percentage per category. We had seven different categories which all weighted a different percentage, so in the end, whoever won each category, the percentage of the category would be added up so whoever had the highest percentage would win.

“The judges thought it was a point, so if you win a category you win a point. So the reason why the Panthers were crowned the winners at the time was because the judges gave them four points, but as they were calling out each category, we realised that we were actually the winners because they gave us the categories with the highest percentages.

“The full routine was worth 30 per cent, which we won, the pyramid was worth 27 per cent, which we won. Those two alone were weighted higher than anything else so automatically we thought we’d won and they were about to announce us as winners.

“But all of a sudden, when they’d finished announcing all of the categories, they announced the Panthers as winners.”

Ebby was quick to consult with the judges and draw their attention to the incorrect decision.

She continued: “We were a bit confused, and immediately I went up to the judges and said I thought they’d got something wrong and could they just check over it.

“I had to show them the contract again and in the end it was cleared up that we had the higher percentage. Overall we had 64.5 per cent in total.

“It wasn’t Leicester Panthers’ fault. The judges made a mistake at the time but it was rectified. The only unfortunate thing to happen was that we were not able to celebrate because as soon as the judges announced the winners all the audience left.

“By the time the results were rectified the audience had gone. We didn’t get to celebrate with our audience and had to go on social media to let people know that we had won.”

Not being able to celebrate amongst their family and friends was very disappointing, said Ebby, but the squad, were still delighted to triumph no matter what.

She said: “It was extremely disappointing. We thought they were going to tell us we were the winners for the third year running. It would have been really exciting for us to jump up and be excited to know that we won for the third year running but we were unable to.

“Once the judges pulled us to the side and explained what had gone wrong and let us know, everyone started screaming and jumping around, realising that it was mistake and all our hard work hadn’t been in vain and we did indeed pull it out the bag.

“As soon as we found out we won, it was an even better atmosphere for us. We were extremely proud of ourselves.”

Despite the controversial outcome, Ebby said the strong relationship between the two squads remains and is keen for it to continue to do so. She also praised the performance of the Panthers on the night.

She said: “They had amazing performances. Both teams put in so much hard work and amazing performances on the day.

“We’ve both really improved and I can imagine next year’s Varsity being even more intense.”

To see full Varsity fixtures and results, click here.


Photo Credit: ©? Keith Fletcher/Fletch Photography

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