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BTB opens Ts’unu’un Pok-ta-Pok Ball Court in Yo Creek, Orange Walk, as Belize prepares to host Pok-ta-Pok World Cup

Posted: Friday, June 30, 2023. 10:56 am CST.

Photo Credit: BTB

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) and the Belize Maya Ancestral Maya Sport Pok-ta-Pok (BMAMSP) celebrated the opening of the Ts’unu’un Pok-ta-Pok Ball Court on Thursday at Jardín Pachamama on the Yo Creek – San Lazaro Road in the Orange Walk District as Belize prepares to host the next Pok-ta-Pok World Cup in December.

The ball court, a unique attraction that showcases the ancient Maya sport of Pok-ta-Pok and honors Belize’s rich Maya heritage, was built with a joint investment of $75,000 between the BTB and the BMAMSP, according to a BTB press release.  The court, which measures 100 ft by 50 ft, is the first of its kind in Belize and will host the upcoming Pok-ta-Pok World Cup.

“Promoting and preserving historic sites and new products such as the Pok-ta-Pok ball court, through tourism, not only allows us to connect with our past but it also generates revenue to support conservation for future generations,” Director of Tourism Evan Tillett said at the inauguration.

Pok-ta-Pok, the sacred sport of the ancient Maya civilization, involves hip, arm and leg movements to maneuver the ball around the court. Several of Belize’s archaeological sites, such as Lamanai, Nim Li Punit, Xunantunich, and Cahal Pech, have preserved these ball courts. At the same time, the ancient sport has been revived in Belize and other neighbouring countries in recent years. They compete in a biennial world tournament to claim regional supremacy. Belize has won the world championship title three times in a row and will host the Pok-ta-Pok World Cup for the first time in December this year.

This new site in Belize’s northern region is a valuable addition to the diverse destinations that Belizean and international visitors can enjoy. The Jardín Pachamama showcases the Maya Pok-ta-Pok game, a cultural and historical performance that tourists can watch regularly at this location along the Holpatin Corridor. It also supports the cultural and sporting heritage of the nearby communities by providing a space for practice and games.

The inauguration ceremony featured Prime Minister John Briceño as the guest speaker. Other speakers included Minister of Human Development, Families & Indigenous People’s Affairs Dolores Balderamos, Minister of Agriculture Food Security & Enterprise Jose Abelardo Mai, Director of Tourism Evan Tillet, Central American and Caribbean Ancestral Mayan Ballgame Association (ACCDAPM) President José Manrique Esquivel, BTB Director of Industry Development Josue Carballo, and BMAMSP President Felicita Cantun.

Pok-ta-Pok teams made a thrilling demonstration of how the game is played on the new ball court.

The BTB press release said the Ministry of Tourism and Diaspora Relations and the BTB are committed to protecting and promoting Belize’s cultural heritage. The Maya Pok-ta-Pok Ball court not only enriches Belize’s tourism landscape with a cultural attraction but also supports the growth and development of the tourism industry.


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