Santa Cruz City Council and Fundación Cepsa launch indigenous sports school

    • A new campaign has been launched in schools across the city to promote Canarian wrestling, el garrote, el juego del palo and el tolete canario

Santa Cruz de Tenerife City Council through the Autonomous Sports Body (OAD) has partnered with Fundación Cepsa to launch a series of exhibitions today aimed at raising awareness among youngsters from schools across the city of the traditional sports of Canarian wrestling, el garrote [Gran Canarian long staff fighting], el juego del palo [another discipline of long staff fighting] and el tolete canario [baton fighting].

This is the second year of the initiative, which will reach close to 7,000 pupils in 36 kindergartens and elementary schools across the city under the slogan Santa Cruz-Fundación Cepsa Indigenous Sports School.

The School was presented today at García Escámez Primary School, where these sports were showcased before around 300 pupils by a number of groups: Campitos Wrestling Club (Canarian wrestling), Escuela Acosta de Los Campitos Sports Club (long staff fighting), the Federation of Gran Canarian Long Staff Fighting, and Achinech Martial Arts School (baton fighting).

The launch was attended by the city’s mayor, José Manuel Bermúdez; Cepsa’s director for the Canary Islands, José Manuel Fernández-Sabugo; sports councilor, Verónica Meseguer; and school principal, Isabel Talavera.

The mayor underlined “this initiative’s goal of raising awareness so that we do not lose our indigenous sporting traditions which, unfortunately, do not have the resources to reach children through the media, unlike other sports that receive the most media coverage. The aim is for kids to find out about the traditional sports from specialist coaches and, if they are interested, know how and where they can go to practice them.”

Cepsa’s director showed his support for the Santa Cruz-Fundación Cepsa Indigenous Sports School and argued that “sports in general instill a series of very important values in kids of this age who practice them and, in the specific case of disciplines that originated in the Canary Islands, even more profound values given the sense of nobility that those taking part and watching them feel.”

For Meseguer, “this second edition of the project aims to go beyond what we achieved in the last academic year, with exhibitions being held between April and December in all the schools in Santa Cruz that ask to take part. We’ll obviously take a break during the summer holidays, but each exhibition will provide an opportunity to raise awareness of the sports by walking kids through their history and rules.”

The last part of the school exhibition is eminently hands-on, with pupils being able to practice with coaches in each sporting discipline and learn the rules, techniques and skills described during the theory classes. Lastly, the coaches running the exhibition will also tell children where they can go to carry on with the sports. In order to further showcase and provide information on this project, exhibitions will also be held at public events such as the May Fiestas to raise the profiles of the groups coaching these indigenous sports.

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