National Sport of Colombia -- Do You Know What It Is?

If you were to guess what the national sport of Colombia is, you might guess -- Soccer, Baseball, or Bicycling. However, you would be wrong on all accounts. The National Sport of Colombia is called TEJO (TAY - hoe), declared by an act of Congress.

The game is played on a field called a cancha, about the size of one really wide bowling lane (2.5 meters wide x 19.5 meters long). On each end, you'll find the target, called a bocin. The target is angled form top to bottom at a 30 degree angle and filled with clay. There are also triangular pouches of gun powder (called mechas) in the clay.

The object of the game is to throw a tejo (a small metal disc weighing about 1/2 - 1 pound) into the bocin and blow up a mecha -- if you do this you get 9 points. If you throw the tejo and hit the bocin, but there is no gunpowder explosion, then you get 6 points. There are a few other scoring rules, but you get the idea.

Now, tejo has become synonymous with beer. Most games are played in a bar type atmosphere and often the loser buys the beer for the other team. (Not exactly a family friendly environment).

Tejo has its roots in the native Muisca culture. Originally called Turmequé, the sport has been played on the Altiplano Cundiboyacense for over 500 years. It was the sport of the Indian aristocracy, who used a gold disc and simply threw it -- of course, no gunpowder prior to the Spanish Conquest.

Today, tejo is typically a sport of the middle to lower class in mostly Boyacá, Cundinamarca, and Bogotá.

Play virtual Tejo here:

Hear a report on Tejo from PRI's The World:

View a Colombian Television Report about Tejo (in Spanish, but you can see the game played):


Anonymous said…
Thank you!
I needed this informations for a class project and it helped me very well. Thanks!

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