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5th Ancestral Mayan Ball Game Pok-Ta-Pok World Cup starts on Friday, December 8 in Orange Walk

Posted: Thursday, December 7, 2023. 12:02 pm CST.

Ek’ Balam Belize celebrating third World Cup in Mérida, Mexico in 2021 – Photo Credit: Ek’ Balam Belize

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: All teams are arriving in Belize on Thursday for the 5th Ancestral Mayan Ball Game Pok-Ta-Pok World Cup which starts on Friday, December 8, in Orange Walk.

Thirteen men’s teams are competing in the 5th Men’s World Cup and four women’s teams are competing in the first Women’s World Cup.

Three-time World Champions of the Ancestral Mayan Ball Game Pok-Ta-Pok, Ek’ Balam Belize (Belize Black Jaguars), and Kinich Ahau represent Belize in the Men’s World Cup and Kinich Ahau represents in the Women;s World Cup.

Ek’ Balam Belize placed third in the first World Cup in Pisté, Yucatán, Mexico in 2015 and won the next three World Cups celebrated in Guatemala City in 2017, in San Salvador in 2019, and in Mérida, Mexico, in 2021.

Since then, Felicita Cantun broke away from Ek’ Balam and formed her own teams, Kinich Ahau Men’s and Women’s. For the first time Belize will have more than one team competing in the Pok-Ta-Pok World Cup.

The Orange Walk Multi-Purpose Complex and the People’s Stadium will be  used for the competition.

Ek’ Balam Belize at Orange Walk Multi-Purpose Complex  – (Photo Credit: Ek’ Balam Belize)

The Men’s tournament will feature two teams each from Belize, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Panama, and one from the United States, playing in two groups. The Women’s championship comprises teams from Guatemala, Mexico, El Salvador, and Belize.  They will play in one group.

The draw held in Mérida on Friday, November 17, placed the defending World Cup champions, Ek’ Balam Belize in Group 2, the Black group, along with Honduras’ Gualcarque, Mexico’s San Pedro, Guatemala’s Ajpopab Tzutujil, Panama 2, El Salvador’s Kuskatan, and the United States.

Kinich Ahau will compete in Group 1, the White group, against El Salvador’s Kuskatan 1, Panama #1, Guatemala’s Ukotzijal Ajpú, Honduras’ Ulúa, and Mexico’s Southeast Selection.

The two groups will play round robins with the top two teams qualifying for the semifinals. The  winners of the semifinals qualify to the final. The two losing teams play for third place.

The Women’s single group will also play a round robin.

The Men’s games consists of two 13 minute halves and a five-minute intermission. The Women’s is ten-minute have with a five-minute intermission.

The Pok-Ta-Pok World Cup is organized by the Central American and Caribbean Ancestral Mayan Ballgame Association (ACCDAPM).

Here’s the schedule. Starting times have not yet been disclosed.

GROUP: MEN’S WHITE, WOMEN’S

Friday, December 8

1. M: El Salvador Kuskatan 1  Vs  Panama

2.  M: Mexico White  Vs  Guatemala Ukotzijal Ajpu

3.  F: Mexico White  Vs  Belize Kinich Ahau

4.  M: Honduras Ulúa 1  Vs  Belize Kinich Ahau

5.  M: El Salvador Kuskatan 1  Vs  Guatemala Ukotzijal Ajpu

6.  F: Guatemala I’xk’at  Vs  El Salvador Kuskatan 1

7.  M: Panama 1  Vs  Belize Kinich Ahau

8.  M: Mexico White  Vs  Honduras Ulúa

9.  F: Mexico White  Vs  El Salvador Kuskatan 1

10. M: El Salvador Kuskatan 1  Vs  Belize Kinich Ahau

11. M: Guatemala Ukotzijal Ajpu  Vs  Honduras Ulúa

Saturday, December 9                                                           

12. M: Panama 1  Vs  Mexico White

13. M: El Salvador Kuskatan 1  Vs  Honduras Ulúa

14. F: Belize Kinich Ahau  Vs  Guatemala I’xk’at

15. M: Belize Kinich Ahau  Vs  Mexico White

16. M: Guatemala Ukotzijal Ajpu Vs  Panama 1

17. F: Mexico White Vs  Guatemala I’xk’at

18. M: El Salvador Kuskatan 1  Vs  Mexico White

19. M: Honduras Ulúa  Vs  Panama 1

20. F: El Salvador Kuskatan  Vs  Belize Kinich Ahau

21. M: Belize Kinich Ahau  Vs  Guatemala Ukotzijal Ajpu

GROUP: MEN’S BLACK

Friday, December 8

1.  Belize Ek’ Balam  Vs  United States Ixiin Kaak

2.  El Salvador Kuskatan 2  Vs  Mexico Black

3.  Panama 2  Vs  Guatemala Ajpopab Tzutujil

4.  Honduras Gualcarque  Vs  Mexico Black

5.  United States Ixiin Kaak  Vs  Guatemala Ajpopab Tzutujil

6.  El Salvador Kuskatan 2  Vs  Panama 2

7.  Belize Ek’ Balam  Vs  Guatemala Ajpopab Tzutujil

8.  Honduras Gualcarque  Vs  Panama 2

9.  United States Ixiin Kaak  Vs  El Salvador Kuskatan 2

10. Mexico Black  Vs  Panama 2

11. Belize Ek’ Balam  Vs  El Salvador Kuskatan 2

Saturday, December 9                                                           

12. Honduras Gualcarque  Vs United States Ixiin Kaak

13. Guatemala Ajpopab Tzutujil Vs  El Salvador Kuskatan 2

14. Mexico Black  Vs  United States Ixiin Kaak

15. Belize Ek ‘Balam  Vs  Honduras Gualcarque

16. Panama 2  Vs  United States Ixiin Kaak

17. Guatemala Ajpopab Tzutujil  Vs  Honduras Gualcarque

18. Mexico Negro  Vs  Belize Ek’ Balam

19. El Salvador Kuskatan 2  Vs  Honduras Gualcarque                    

20. Panama 2  Vs  Belize Ek’ Balam

21. Guatemala Ajpopab Tzutujil  Vs  Mexico Black

 

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