Tejo, Colombia's Explosive National Sport


Photo by blog Los Mundos de Hachero, used with permission.

Tejo or turmequé, a national sport in Colombia since 2000, has its origins in other game played in the Muisca community, which inhabited the Bogotá savannah 500 years ago, as Spanish journalist Jose Sanchez Hachero blogs on Los Mundos de Hachero.

Back then, the game was known as “zepguagoscua”. Tejo is meant for socializing and gambling, generally with beer drinks. Sanchez Hachero describes how it's organized:

[El juego] consiste en lanzar un disco metálico a través de una cancha en cuyos extremos se colocan unas cajas cubiertas de arcilla en la que yacen enterradas mechas (bolsitas) de pólvora que explotarán cuando se logre el impacto. El objetivo está en el centro de la caja, una suerte de círculo señalado por unas flechitas bajo el que se supone está la gran mecha. La diana se llama bocín y si tiene usted la dicha de aterrizar el disco metálico en semejante lugar se llevará seis puntos. El primero que reviente 9 mechas, a razón de tres puntos por explosión, se lleva el juego. Los puntos cambian según la puntería del tirador y si el proyectil impacta en el centro se otorgarán seis puntos, como decía, pero si la carambola es doble, es decir, en el centro y en una mecha, entonces el agraciado se llevará nueve puntos y los colombianos llaman a semejante gesta ‘Moñona’.

[The game] consists of throwing a metal disc across a field where on each side clay-covered boxes are placed with little bags full of gunpowder that will detonate on impact. The goal is to get to the center of the box, a sort of circle pointed to by some arrows, where the big fuse is. The target is known as “bocín” and if you are lucky enough and your disc lands on the spot, you earn six points. The first one who hits nine fuses, three points per blow, wins the game. Points may change according to the shooter's aim, and if the projectile hits the center, you get six points. But if you get a double shoot, that is, on the center and a fuse, then the lucky one will earn nine points. Colombians know that prowess as “Moñona.”

Follow Sanchez Hachero on Twitter.

Start the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices!

Submitted addresses will be confirmed by email, and used only to keep you up to date about Global Voices and our mission. See our Privacy Policy for details.

Newsletter powered by Mailchimp (Privacy Policy and Terms).

* = required field
Email Frequency

No thanks, show me the site