Feature: Novel basketball game enriches lives of ethnic minority women

(Xinhua) 10:55, March 14, 2024

GUIYANG, March 13 (Xinhua) -- Ethnic minority women in Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture, southwest China's Guizhou Province, have started playing basketball in a manner similar to football, allowing them to run with the ball on the court without being called for fouls such as hacking and elbowing.

Local people refer to this type of basketball game as "Gu-Ma Basketball," as its participants are mainly women who have married elsewhere.

"Gu-Ma" means a woman who has married elsewhere in our area," explained Shi Fang, an official of the sports department in Leishan County of Qiandongnan, adding that the game originated in a Miao village called Paili more than 20 years ago.

Thirty-three ethnic groups inhabit Qiandongnan, with more than 200 festival gatherings occurring each year.

Usually, local people would hold basketball games to celebrate those festivals, but as most women had little experience playing basketball, they attempted to innovate the traditional rules.

From March 8 to 10, the first "Gu-Ma Basketball" Invitational in Qiandongnan was held in Xijiang Village of Leishan County, featuring 19 local teams.

Wang Yuxin, a college physical education major, has played regular basketball games. After watching videos of "Gu-Ma Basketball" on TikTok and playing it for the first time, the 22-year-old found it quite interesting.

Sitting in an open space behind the basketball stand and recording the game with mobile phones, a tourist surnamed Liu and her family immersed themselves in the lively atmosphere and scene.

"We have never heard about this novel basketball game before. It's very interesting. The players are very loving and united," said Liu.

Shi believes that "Gu-Ma Basketball" enriches the lives of ethnic minority women, bringing them happiness and providing them with more opportunities to showcase themselves and make friends.

"'Gu-Ma Basketball' shows the beauty and confidence of women," said China's women's basketball national team player Han Xu.

Li Xue, an official of Leishan County, said that participants come from more than 10 ethnic groups, and "Gu-Ma Basketball" has promoted exchanges and integration among different ethnic groups.

"They are rivals on the court, but they become friends and attend parties together after the game," said Shi.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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