leishan

‘Aunties’ shoot for success

An aerial photo shows the venue of the first Guizhou Qiandongnan Prefecture Auntie Basketball Invitational Tournament in Leishan county, Guizhou province, on March 8. YANG WENBIN/XINHUA

In a plaza encircled by traditional Miao and Dong ethnic group buildings in the southwestern province of Guizhou, a unique event was unfolding.

Clad in traditional ethnic attire, women dashed across a basketball court, their laughter and determination echoing through the air. They were engaged in an unconventional game, running across the court while holding the basketball in their arms, passing the ball, scoring and eliciting thunderous cheers from the onlooking villagers and tourists.

It was a common scene during the first Guizhou Qiandongnan Prefecture Auntie Basketball Invitational Tournament held last month in the prefecture’s Leishan county.

The tournament, divided into two categories — one for the general public and another for villagers — drew 19 teams from across the prefecture. Among them, two teams from Leishan performed exceptionally, claiming victory in their respective categories.

Shi Fang, director of the Leishan Sports Management Center, explained the origins of the term “auntie basketball”. In the local culture, women who marry outside a village are lovingly referred to as “aunties”.

Though named after these women, the tournament welcomed all female participants.

The venue for the event was a local scenic area in Leishan. The matches started around 9 am and concluded by 10 pm, each game consisting of two halves of 15 minutes each.