JOHOR BARU: Johor’s Yahya Awal Dragon Dance Troupe has brought glory to Malaysia once more, clinching the top award for the third consecutive time at the World Hong Kong Luminous Dragon and Lion Dance Championships.
The troupe, comprising 19 youths, outshone teams from host Hong Kong, Macau, China, Taiwan, Japan, Philippines, Singapore and Indonesia to finish first with a score of 9.32 out of 10 during the Jan 9 championship at the Hong Kong Coliseum in Hung Hom, Kowloon.
Hong Kong’s Team A came in at second place with 9.17 points while its Team B managed to score 9.10 points in the competition, held every two years and dubbed the most prestigious of its kind.
The team’s 30-year-old coach Amos Poh Soon Han said they were under massive pressure this time round as everyone back home expected them to bring home the championship trophy for the third consecutive time to gain the nickname “long wang (dragon king)”.
“We did not want to disappoint our supporters, families and friends, so we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to win in Hong Kong,” he said when met by The Star here yesterday.
Poh said the team, whose members are aged between 19 and 20, trained three times a week for a year and switched to daily training a month before the competition to perfect their routine.
Poh, who has been involved in dragon dance since he was 11, designed the winning choreography himself to complement the percussions.
“Our routine is different in each competition. I think we stand out from other teams in terms of drum percussions, speed and liveliness as I always design the choreography from the audience point of view.
“As a member of the audience, I would like to see how the dragon comes to life and how it moves compared to the ‘real’ thing so I designed it accordingly,” he added.