Guatemala, from a group of friends idea to hosting a Central American Hockey 5 Championship

November 27, 2023

Guatemala, from a group of friends idea to hosting a Central American Hockey 5 Championship

We know that this sport of stick and ball began, like many others, in England. But the story of how the activity spread to every corner of America is different. Guatemala is one of the countries in the Federation that, less than two decades ago, began to give more prominence to the discipline. The reason behind it originates from the idea of a group of friends, including the current president of the National Association.

Paolo César Camposeco Chang is 42 years old and recalls that 17 years ago, he and other colleagues took the initiative to bring hockey to their country. The reason? "At that time, it was one of the sports in the Olympic cycle that Guatemala lacked, and there was the concern to promote it," explained the leader.

Since then, they worked tirelessly to achieve it. The latest significant step was hosting the Central American Hockey 5 Championship. There, the national teams managed to secure the second place in both women's and men's categories, demonstrating that what started as an informal conversation years ago now has certainties and medals.

"The level in Guatemala is still developing, mainly because we don't have official or dedicated fields. In Central America, we are pioneers and hold a strong position in the Pan-American and world rankings," said Paolo Camposeco.

From that initial intention to the present day, the number of players has grown. In the women's category, the Infant (13 years and under) has 157 participants, Juvenile (14 to 17 years) has 129, and the Senior (18 years and older) has 99, totaling 385. In men, the numbers are higher, with a total of 430 players divided as follows: Infant (13 years and under) with 152, Juvenile (14 to 17 years) with 137, and Senior (18 years and older) with 141. The only way to increase these numbers is by promoting the sport. With the opportunity to host international tournaments, promotion skyrockets.

The Association's president stated that the Central American Hockey 5 Championship held in November of this year was very helpful. "It contributes to athletes, technical teams, technical officials, and referees facing a different type of game and competitors." Besides serving as a tool to showcase the activity, it also raises local standards.

The goals shift as they are achieved. "Regarding the country, we want to increase the number of clubs for the high performance of our National Hockey League, implement a Youth League to enhance competitive practice in that category, and refine techniques and tactics to move on to the senior category. Additionally, we would like to increase children's championships to follow up on that sports education," explained Camposeco.

Undoubtedly, starting with the local will lead to better international results. "We also want to have more participation in Hockey 11 and be in all possible competitions. We have a long way to go; we are working and growing rapidly. This will allow us to support all athletes who practice it," concluded the Guatemalan representative.

The story that originated from a conversation among friends, where the idea of adding hockey to the country's Olympic program emerged, exceeded expectations so much that achievements came sooner than expected. However, the Association's dream, working together with others in the region and with the support of the Pan-American Federation, continues to gain strength. Guatemala aims to keep climbing and understands that, in the midst of it all, the focus should not be lost: "The main thing is to continue transmitting values and principles through sports," and perhaps, through that path, eventually reach the competition of the five rings.

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