Hearing-impaired Scotsman wins gold at Florida’s highest cheerleading contest

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A hearing-impaired Scotsman is on top after being crowned one of the world’s best cheerleaders.

Emily Allan has been deaf in her left ear since birth.

But that’s not stopping the 24-year-old, who is part of Scotland’s first-ever Adaptive Abilities United Freestyle Pom cheerleading squad.



Emily Allan coaches cheerleading and is a trainee lawyer

The team is made up of Scots with issues such as visual impairment, joint problems and scoliosis, as well as others without disabilities.

And the talented athletes won gold in their category at Cheerleading Worlds 2022 in Orlando, Florida, USA, from April 23-25.

Nine groups turned, tumbled and fought their way to the top for the Scotland team whose high aggregate scores mean they now sit tenth in the world.



Emily Allan (far right) with Team Scotland's first ever Adaptive Abilities Unified Freestyle Pom
Emily Allan (far right) with Team Scotland’s first ever Adaptive Abilities Unified Freestyle Pom

Emily, from Findochty, Moray, said knowing the extra hurdles her team faces makes their gold medal all the more enjoyable.

The trainee lawyer told the Record: “I still can’t believe we won.

“The team includes people with a number of disabilities that some might not associate with cheerleading.



Emily Allan has been a cheerleader since she was 13
Emily Allan has been a cheerleader since she was 13

“To think that we all came together for the first time, worked so hard and are now the best in the world, it’s amazing.

“I always dreamed of competing at the world championships, but I never thought it would actually happen.

“We are always on top and my family is so proud.”



Emily Allan (back row, third from left) with her team in Orlando, Florida, USA
Emily Allan (back row, third from left) with her team in Orlando, Florida, USA

Adaptive Abilities coaches tweak and adjust routines to suit their members’ needs during twice-weekly training sessions in Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire.

Adapting to her environment is normal for Emily.

She added: “Being deaf in one ear I have to read lips, loud noise can be difficult and if people are talking on my left side I can’t hear them.



Emily Allan has been deaf in her left ear since birth.
Emily Allan has been deaf in her left ear since birth.

“I also have to watch out for traffic.

“Working as a lawyer, I get my own office to hear properly.

“With cheerleading, I don’t do so many turns that my balance is affected, the music is at a volume I can hear, and I’m often positioned facing the coaches so I can read lips and take more cues.



Emily Allan (front row, fourth from left) with her team after taking the crowned world champions to Florida, Orlando, USA
Emily Allan (front row, fourth from left) with her team after bringing the crowned world champions in Florida to the United States

“The coaches are brilliant – nothing is ever a problem for them. We are all treated the same.”

Determined, Emily caught the cheerleading bug at the age of 13 and has lived and breathed sport ever since.

Between her gold medal across the Atlantic, her high-flying law degree and training sessions four hours from home, Emily also coaches in nearby Elgin.




She hopes to show other Scots with disabilities that they don’t have to be sidelined.

“My team has proven that no matter what disability you might have, you just have to go for it.

“All the coaches I have worked with over the years have been happy to adapt to the needs of others.

“Believe in yourself and you can do whatever you want.”

For more information on Team Scotland, visit Sport Cheer Scotland website or email [email protected] You can also follow Team Scotland on Facebook and Instagram.

Deaf Awareness Week runs from May 2-8. More information on hearing loss can be found on the NHS website.

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