A year and a half before the petanque world championships which will take place in Dijon (Côte-d’Or), the French Federation is organizing these Wednesday 24 and Thursday 25 May discovery days of this sport in the City of the Dukes. The idea: to promote an activity already practiced by 16,000 licensees in the region.
July 2004. I am eight years old. My return to CE2 is only a distant reality. The blazing sun stains my skin. I’m with my father and my uncle and we play pétanque. I am from Marseille. Let me tell you that for me, pétanque is like a religion.
And even for you. If I tell you “You shoot or you point ?”, “triplet” or “kiss Fanny”, you inevitably think of Marseille. It’s normal. But petanque is exported, especially in Burgundy! This Wednesday 24 and Thursday 25 May, the French Federation is launching its Pétanque Tour in Dijon (Côte-d’Or).
The idea: to promote the sport through discovery exercises and training matches. A completely free event and also designed to appeal to a novice audience before the world championships which will take place in December 2024 in… Dijon.
Obviously curious, I went to the Place de la République where ephemeral bowling alleys are installed. On site, many children who are discovering petanque and adults who have the opportunity to confront three world champions: Angelique Colombet, Michel Loy and Julien Lamour.
“The objective is to give a positive image and to reach the public in the center of towns. Place de la République is the ideal place”confides Clément Ménéghin, communications officer for the French Petanque Federation.
It is well known, and not necessarily untrue, when you are from Marseille, it can happen to you to be in bad faith. But not to the point of considering that three world champions play less well than me! So I don’t try to confront them. On the other hand, I am curious to see the level of the Burgundian players and to understand how this sport is exported as well.
It’s the only sport where you can approach the best players in the world. In tennis, you can’t play with Nadal, in football you can’t approach Mbappé.Clément Ménéghin, communication officer of the French Petanque Federation
“There is a popular side, friendly, easy to perform, you buy a few balls and that’s it you can play! But there is a sporty side. For world champions, it’s hours of training. is a real sport!”launches Alain Vorillion president of the departmental committee of Côte-d’Or and vice-president of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté within the Federation.
In our region, 16,000 people are made redundant out of 255,000 nationally. Not to mention casual gamers. “Petanque is well established in Burgundy! People from the south are nice. They accept us”, laughs Alain Vorillion. It’s true that we are very nice.
But the Federation wants to continue to establish itself in the region and beyond the south of France. “We suffered from the Covid with a drop in licensees. But we are starting to get back to the normal course of things. The Pétanque Tour is used to reach children who are not yet licensed. We also bring in people from adapted sports. Our image is improving little by little. It is by touching the school environment that we will continue to develop”, believes Clément Meneghin.
Pauline, eight years old, is also present this Wednesday and participates in some matches. “I’m super happy. It’s the first time I’ve played against champions. I like to play. I try not to take my head off. In my family, we all play pétanque”. 200 children are expected during the two days of the Pétanque Tour in Dijon.
Aurélien has been playing for seven years. He started at the Longvic club. “It’s really a passion. There is everything I like! I will continue for a long time”.
And me, after my short visit, I can confirm that the Burgundians have rather a nice wrist to play petanque. But hey, the only capital of the world of petanque, it’s still Marseille!
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