A basketball team from Mexico's Oaxaca state has been making quite an impact in youth tournaments lately.

They represent the indigenous Triqui people, and most of the players in this junior squad — ages 9 and 10— play barefoot because they're not used to wearing shoes.

But the lack of athletic gear hasn't stopped this "seleccion indigena" from winning.

The Triqui (like “TREE-key”) team recently won a world junior basketball tournament in Argentina and came in second place at the Youth Basketball of America tournament in Orlando this summer. Earlier this year, they also dominated the YBOA tournament in Monterrey, Mexico defeating teams from all over the country.


After their latest victory in Argentina, the Triqui children received a hero's welcome. The president of Mexico tweeted about them, and airline Aeromexico tweeted that they were "proud" to have transported the team. In the Mexican congress senators stood for a minute and applauded the achievements of these indigenous kids.

Hopefully their performance will also shed some light on the situation of the Triqui people.


According to Mexican website Contralinea, parts of Oaxaca that are inhabited by the Triqui have some of the worst social development indicators in Mexico.

In the mostly Triqui town of Yosoyuxi, for instance, 93 percent of the population does not have regular access to health services. Fifty four percent have no running water in their homes, and 50 percent do not have a toilet at home, according to data gathered by Contralinea. You can check out more info on the Triqui here and here.


And here's a video of their impressive basketball team.


Manuel Rueda is a correspondent for Fusion, covering Mexico and South America. He travels from donkey festivals, to salsa clubs to steamy places with cartel activity.