A player uses his hip to send the ball back to the other side in a game of Pok Ta Pok. A player uses his hip to send the ball back to the other side in a game of pok ta pok.

New Yucatán school will teach Mayan ballgame to rescue the sport

The school seeks to revive the pre-Hispanic sport in Yucatán

A new school in Yucatán will teach pok ta pok, or Maya ball, a version of the Mesoamerican ballgame.

The municipality of Umán, located in the Mérida metropolitan area, has opened the school in an attempt to rescue the pre-Hispanic sport.

Municipal secretary José Manuel Ruiz Garrido told reporters that the school will be run by the Municipal Youth Institute with the goal of attracting young people from all over Umán.

“We want to rescue the Maya ballgame, which little by little has been disappearing in Yucatán,” he said. “That’s why we’re hoping that the new generations will play this sport, which was left by our ancestors as a legacy.”

José Manrique Esquivel, president of the Yucatán Association of Indigenous Games and Sports, said that more and more local and state governments are becoming interested in the game.

“It is a game, but it’s also a demanding discipline for those who play it,” he said. “In Yucatán, there are more and more groups who are getting involved.”

Last year, a team from Chapab de las Flores represented Mexico at a pok ta pok World Cup event and won. In this year’s World Cup, which took place in El Salvador, Mexican teams came in second and third place, while first place went to the host team.

It is hoped that the new school will lead to the creation of new teams across the state.

Pok ta pok is played with a ball that weighs three kilograms and is made out of rubber resin. Players use only their hips to send the ball to the other side of the court.

Source: El Financiero (sp), Diario de Yucatán (sp)

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