Shoeless Trique Indian boys from Mexico win basketball tournament

Eight boys from indigenous communities in the mountains of Oaxaca won the Mini-Basketball World Festival in Argentina.
Posted By Veronica Linares  |  Oct. 17, 2013 at 11:44 AM
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(UPI) -- A team of Trique Indian boys from Oxaca, Mexico made history at the fifth Mini-Basketball World Festival in Argentina earning the winning title despite the fact that many of them played barefoot.

Dubbed the "barefoot mice from Mexico," the team will travel to the Dominican Republic where they'll play in the The Cup of the Caribbean to take place from October 30 through November 5.

The eight boys are from indigenous communities in the mountains of Oaxaca, one of the poorest areas of Mexico. Ernesto Merino, a Triqui who is one of the coaches of the program, said the boys received the nickname "barefoot mice" because they were smaller than other competitors.

He added that the team makes up for their size with "strength, speed and endurance."

“For them it’s normal to not have shoes, to walk barefoot,” Merino said, adding that the boys are also used to living in big families where there's often not enough money to cover basic necessities.

Emanuel Sanchez, the press officer for Oaxaca's sport commission, said the government supports the team by providing uniforms, grants and tennis shoes.

"They're given shoes, but some of them play without them," he said.

To be a part of the team the Triqui boys have to attend school and maintain an average grade of 8.5 on a ten-point scale, speak their native language and help out around the house.

The boys traveled to Argentina with Oaxaca's Indigenous Basketball Academy. The tournament took place in Buenos Aires, Córdoba y Paraná. This year the event was attended by teams from Bolivia, Brasil, Chile, Mexico, Uruguay and Venezuela.

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