For the first time, the Lithuanian national cheerleading team achieved podium placements at the European Cheerleading Championship. Among the champions was a fifteen-year-old girl from Ukraine who moved to Vilnius, accompanied by her mother and younger sister, when their country was engulfed in war. Karina’s journey to victory was supported by BS/2.
On the 8th and 9th of July in Wiesbaden, Germany, the European Cheerleading Championships took place. The Lithuanian Cheerleading Federation team claimed 7 prestigious spots, securing 3 gold and 4 silver medals! The first places were earned in the duos category, while the second places were achieved in two pair performances and two team routines (each team consisting of up to 10 dancers).
Among the victorious competitors was Karina Gasanova from Ukraine. She clinched the top spot in the pair discipline and took second place in the team nominations.
Before this, she actively trained in Kyiv: in 2021, she took third place in the Ukrainian Championship with a solo performance, and in 2022, she secured first place in the Kyiv Championship. She had hoped to become the winner of her home country's competition. Karina's dream came true a little differently: she was honored to represent Lithuania on the international stage, but at the championship, not only the Lithuanian flag but also the Ukrainian flag waved on the stage.
Before departing to Germany, in May of this year, Karina won two more gold medals (for team and solo performances) at the Latvian Championship, and in June, she won four gold medals at the Lithuanian Championship (for jazz solo dance, free style in pairs, free style in teams, and team dance). Karina not only dances herself but also coaches a team of girls aged 8–12, who also received a medal for second place at the Lithuanian Championship.
Karina's trip was sponsored by Penkių kontinentų bankinės technologijos (BS/2), where her mother also works. Now, Karina awaits another trip—to Japan, where the Cheerleading World Championship will take place.
In the photo: Karina's mother, Tetiana Gasanova; Karina Gasanova; the President of the Lithuanian Cheerleading Federation, Elena Koroleva; and the Chairman of the Board of the Penki Kontinentai group of companies, Idrakas Dadašovas.
"In my heart, I always felt that I could achieve a high position, but being the first was a big surprise for me. I am very happy. Now I will take two weeks off, and then I need to train seriously because I have to perform even stronger at the World Championship," said Karina Gasanova.
Karina not only trains with the team four times a week but also engages in additional individual sports training at the BS/2 company gym, where her mother works.
"I am delighted to have the opportunity to support the dream of a young girl who came from Ukraine and is actively striving towards her goal. The passion in her eyes is so strong that it's impossible not to believe in her, and I never had any doubt that she will succeed," says the Сhairman of the Board of Penki Kontinentai Group and CEO of BS/2, Idrakas Dadašovas.
Cheerleading is a sport originating in the USA, that requires excellent physical fitness, great endurance, and determination. It's a blend of gymnastics, ballet, acrobatics, and various dance styles.
In Lithuania, the Lithuanian Cheerleading Federation has been active since 2018. The HOOO studio has also been operating for almost the same amount of time. Elena Korolyova, the President of the Federation and the studio's director, says that this sport fosters self-confidence, strength, and a healthy lifestyle. The studio's dancers previously participated in the 2019 European Championship and achieved 4th place.
Some may think that cheerleading is simply a fun dance performed by girls before basketball games. However, in reality, it has evolved into a distinct sport. Our goal is to participate in and win championships in this discipline. I am proud of our team, and I believe we can become even better. We are currently enjoying a two-week break, but after that, there will be a lot of work ahead. We are preparing a new routine, improving technical details, and learning from any mistakes that occurred. Hard work should be rewarded, and tears await us regardless; we hope they will be tears of joy," says Elena Koroleva.
Elena hopes that cheerleading will become even more popular in Lithuania and will be chosen as a subject of physical education, as it is in colleges in the United States. The Vilnius Fabijoniškės Gymnasium is the first educational institution in Lithuania where students can choose competitive dance as a subject instead of physical education.
In Ukraine, this sport is thriving at a high level and provides opportunities for athletes to become masters of the sport.
For girls aged 8 to 18 who wish to enhance their dance skills, Elena invites them to the "Cheerleading - Ballet - Contemporary" summer camp, which will take place from July 30th to August 6th. The camp will be led by top instructors in ballet, contemporary, and competitive dancing.
European Cheerleading Championships 2023