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The Mayan ball celebrated in Mexico

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The Belize players managed to cross the opposing lines six times with the ball to win by a score of 35-11 over the Mexicans. This very complex point system game was banned by the Spanish during the invasion and conquest of Central America in 1519. Panama and Guatemala also took part in the tournament.

On a basketball court, two teams of four players compete over a rubber ball that weighs nearly two kilograms.

Shirtless, the players have to push the ball behind a line at the back of the opposing camp, with the legs or with the hips, but not with the feet, at the cost of spectacular slips on the ground.

At the start of the meeting, a man dressed in a white shirt performs a sort of ritual prayer in front of the players, a censer in his hand.

I come to bless the players so that their feet do not twist, so that they do not break a bone, a tendon or other, explains Tiburxio Can May, a traditional Mayan healer.

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We must invoke the lord of the underworld, Xibalbá, we must invoke the 13 gods, we must invoke the lord of the universe, mother earth, he specifies.

It is still a sacred game for us, because we have to honor the memory of our grandparents, we have to honor our Mayan gods, adds the president of the Association of Central America and the Caribbean of the ancestral sport of the Mayan ball, José Manrique.

Editions every two years

Previous championships were held in Chichen Itza, Mexico, in 2015, Guatemala in 2017, and El Salvador in 2019.

This is an all-male competition, but the goal is to include women for the 2023 World Cup.

The Mayan culture has left impressive temples in southeastern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, as well as parts of the territories of El Salvador and Honduras.

The first playing fields were built in classical times [de 350 avant J.-C. à 250 après J.-C.] and are closely related to the Mayan myths of the founding of the world, according to the collective of historians of The new general history of Mexico.

Our country is made up of the contribution of these cultures and new civilizations, writes the Mexican president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, in his book Halfway there, after hailing the beauty of Mayan cities like Chichen Itza, Tulum and Tikal.

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The nation is part of a multicultural makeup based on the basis of indigenous peoples, according to article 2 of the Mexican Constitution. In reality, the Aboriginals – who speak the Mayan or Nahuatl languages ​​- often complain of discrimination against them, even of a certain racism linked to the color of their skin.

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