Culture, Sports

Nicoya to be Represented in National Basketball Tournament

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More than 30 Nicoyanyouths who have put their hopes and dreams into playing basketball are representing the canton in the Youth Basketball Leagues Tournament (Torneo de Ligas Menores de Baloncesto).

The responsible entity is the Nicoya Basketball Academy, which will represent the canton in three categories. The competition is overseen by the Costa Rican Basketball Federation (FECOBA – Federacion Costarricense de Baloncesto).

Erick Morena, a coach and the school’s founder, said that the canton of Nicoya is a place dominated by soccer, but that there is a nursery of youths from six to twelve years old who are training to become great athletes.

“When a soccer school is opened, the coaches have the luck that many of the students already bring knowledge from other schools. However, here in schools they don’t teach basketball; you have to start from zero. That’s why it’s a harder job, but the kind of competition in which we participate make the kids more passionate about the sport,” said the coach.

Nicoya will participate in the U-8 (i.e. under eight years old), U-10 and U-12 categories, in all three cases with teams made up of boys and girls. For the month of October the three teams will play games on the third in Escazu, the 17th in the Nicoya multisport complex, and the 24th in Grecia. If they are successful the teams will advance to the semifinals towards the end of November.

Teamwork between Genders

Although the majority are boys, the academy has ten girls that are training and compete as well.

For Erick Gomez, a resident of Colorado de Abangares and the father of Jimena, a 9-year-old, this kind of arrangement prevents machismo (chauvinism) from a young age.

“Here the nice thing is that the children are equals among themselves. The boys have to guard Jimena the same as if she were a boy and trust in her like any other member of the team. For her it has been good for her confidence and also when socializing with other boys,” said Gomez.

The Youth Basketball Leagues Tournament has a requirement that every team must have at least one girl.