SouthAm Indigenous sports event

CARACAS (December 11, 2006) – DEEPER than competing, the over 1,400 South American indigenous athletes in the Venezuelan state of Amazonas are opening a new door for native peoples’ development and cultural reassertion.

The first International Indigenous Sports-Cultural Meeting was inaugurated there on Saturday with representatives from Brazil, Colombia, and Venezuela, an unparalleled project in 500 years of marginalization and persecution of indigenous ethnic groups.

The event includes traditional sports such as soccer, volleyball and swimming mixed with non-traditional ones like cassava peeling and grating, indigenous wrestling, fishing and katumare (basket carrying).

After two days of competitions, Venezuelan held the lead in katumare, while the Amazonas and Monagas soccer teams defeated those of Colombia and Sucre with scores of 4-1 and 4-0, respectively.

In wrestling, Venezuela s Delta Amacuro state won with 17 points, followed by Apure and Amazonas, also in the host country.

Along with colourful traditional dances, Venezuela, where indigenous recognition has become constitutional, is housing a sports initiative that stands as element for the union of the native peoples. – Prensa Latina

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