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Jan 27, 2023

Regional Pok-ta-pok Tournament to be Held in Belize in December 2023

Today, a press conference was held at the Marion Jones Sporting Complex to announce that a regional pok-ta-pok tournament will be hosted in Belize in December of this year. With the support from the Ministry of Sports, the National Sports Council and the Association of Pok-ta-pok of Central America and the Caribbean, the event will be held in Orange Walk. It’s an exciting time for stakeholders involved in the traditional Mayan sport because Belize currently holds the regional title as champion. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

The Associacion Centroamericana y del Caribe del Deporte Ancestral de la Pelota Maya is bringing its pok-ta-pok competition to Belize. Preparations have been underway and will be ramped up over the next ten months, as the regional competition will be staged at the Multipurpose Sports Complex in Orange Walk Town from December seventh to the tenth, 2023. During a press conference today, Felicita Tun brought greetings from the village of Yo Creek, which she says is the cradle of the traditional Maya sport, pok-ta-pok.


Felicita Tun

Felicita Tun, Member, ACCDAPM

“We have revived the ancient Maya ballgame poktapok after being dormant for more than four hundred and fifty years in Belize. We have played and won pok-ta-pok with Associacion Centroamericana y del Caribe del Deporte Ancestral de la Pelota Maya in Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador. Now is the time for Belizeans to share the glory and continue our winning ways on our home soil.”


Seven countries will be participating in the regional competition and will include two male teams each and three female teams from Mexico, Guatemala and Belize.


Menalio Novelo

Menalio Novelo, Member, ACCDAPM

“Each team is bringing two male teams so that’s a total of fourteen teams that are coming to the country, including female teams from Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. So we have three female teams that will be competing for the first ever. Like the president mentioned, we are making history. This is the first time that the Maya ballgame will be played in the female category in our country, Belize. Each team consists of six to eight players and so in total we will be hosting a good number of persons, athletes and all the officials coming out, around two hundred we are calculating that we will be hosting.”


Deputy Director of the National Sports Council Marvin Ottley says that it is a great day for sports in Belize. He zeroed in on the economic and tourism benefits associated with Belize hosting the regional event.


Marvin Ottley

Marvin Ottley, Deputy Director, National Sports Council

“From the get-go we got onboard and we are trying to see how best we could not only provide facility space, but what we will do in regards to financial support to the games itself. You know sports have two components, it is not only the sporting aspect, but it is sports and tourism. Just from our recent symposium that was one of our main pillars that we said we were going to move sports forward in Belize and so this does bring a new light of sports and tourism into the country. So from the National Sports Council perspective we see it fit to give all the support we possibly can to make it possible here in Belize.”


The male team from Belize are the defending champions, having won the competition three consecutive times. They are going for a fourth win come December. Menalio Novelo speaks about the training routine that will continue through to game time.


Menalio Novelo

“It is going to be history and we are hoping that our teams will represent the country well.  My team, Ek-Balam, the champions, they are preparing to win the fourth world cup. I know it is not going to be easy, but we are training three times a week and we will try to bring the colours of Belize up again. We are very exciting and we are already starting working with youths and also with kids, working with them, so that when the time comes they will be able to represent our country.”


There will be trophies for first, second and third place teams. It is going to cost a minimum of about eighty-eight thousand dollars to put off the event and all assistance is welcomed.  Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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