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A winner! Note the iron disk in the middle of the clay pit. That's a balazo - maximum points!
Tejo is Colombia's official national sport, designated by Congress. And quite a unique sport it is, combining horseshoes-style tossing and a bit of gunpowder, all lubricated by a generous flow of beer.
Tejo is not easy. The first time you play, you might have trouble hitting the pit, much less scoring points.
Tejo is said to be inherited from a sport played by the Muisca Indians, who competed to see who could throw a disk the furthest. Westerners had other uses for gold, and replaced it with an iron disk, also called a tejo, which can weigh up to two kilograms. For dramatic effect, they added the gundpowder.
Newcomers to tejo usually assume that the goal is to explode the gundpowder. But in fact you score maximum points by getting your tejo to stick in the center, called a balazo. Next most valuable is exploding one of the gundpowder envelopes, called a mecha. Finally, the tejo which lands outside but closest to the iron disk is worth one point.
This tejo scores one point by landing nearest the iron ring.
Preparing the pit.
Ready to toss. Experienced tejo players throw underhand after taking several short steps.
A professional throwing style.
A less experienced by more dramatic tossing technique.
Beer is an integral part of tejo.