Shoeless Indian Boys Win International Basketball TournamentBy: Nanette Haz - October 18, 2013
A powerful team of boys from the Trique tribe have mastered the art of basketball without wearing fancy sneakers. Playing in bare feet and being shorter than the opposing team didn’t keep them from taking the annual tournament organized by the International Basketball Federation-Americas. During this years basketball season they have won six games, and ended their season by winning the championship during the International Festival of Mini-Basketball in Cordoba, Argentina.
Horacio Muratore, president of the International Basketball Federation-Americas, which organizes the annual tournament, said the boys were the best players. “These boys deserved (the championship) more than anyone,” Muratore wrote on the organization’s website.
The team members are from Oaxaca located in the southern region of Mexico. The basketball program they participate in was created specifically to help children who are in large traditional families in the poorest areas of the country. The state government of Oaxaca provides uniforms, tennis shoes, and a stipend of $ 46 a month. Children accepted into the program have to speak in their native language, have good grades in schools, and complete chores in their homes. Even though the team members are given shoes they do not wear them regularly.
Shoeless Trique Indian Boys from Mexico Win Basketball Tournament: Despite being undersized and shoeless, for … http://t.co/f7Icrbi6Se
— RonalBale (@captain_luv) October 17, 2013
Other teams in the tournament dubbed the boys the “the barefoot mice from Mexico” because they are smaller than the other competitors, said Ernesto Merino, one of the team’s coaches and a Trique Indian. He said they compensate for their short stature with “strength, speed and resistance.”
All of the team participants have shown that they have overcome their short stature and perceived limitations. “We see a basketball as an opportunity to grow in life,” Merino said.
The team’s announcement of winning the tournament resulted in a minute of applause on the floor of Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies. Recognition was also given from basketball experts and the esteemed Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.
“The victories of the Trique Indian team from Oaxaca’s Academy of Indigenous Basketball make Mexicans proud,” Pena Nieto said in a tweet.
Image via Twitter @Corvusinaloe