Claude Azema, president of the International Federation of Pétanque and Provençal Game (FIPJP), has committed to working with the Cambodian sporting authorities to support the kingdom’s hosting of an international-level competition later this year.
Mr. Azema is on a flying visit ahead of Cambodia’s hosting of November’s 17th World Women and Junior Petanque Championships here in Phnom Penh.
During his seven-day stay in Cambodia, Mr. Azema will be meeting with the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, as well as reviewing the adjudicating talent at the kingdom’s disposal alongside Mr. Victor Nataf, FIPJP Technical Director.
In a press conference alongside Mr. Azema yesterday, Sar Sokha, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and President of the Boules and Petanque Federation of Cambodia, emphasised that athletes must now be in training ahead of the November competition.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Bou Chum Serey, Under Secretary of State of the Ministry said that Mr. Azema had vowed to help Cambodia successfully host the games.
“We are very lucky, especially the Boules and Petanque Federation. Claude Azema can help train arbitrators, judges and coaches. If other national sporting federations had such internationally recognized help at their disposal they would benefit greatly,” he said.
With two visits to Cambodia already under his belt, Mr. Azema has helped to develop petanque in Cambodia by conducting numerous courses, including the training of technical coaches, as well as training experts, referees and judges.
He has already made a courtesy visit to Hang Chuon Naron, Minister of Education, Youth and Sport. Mr. Azema spoke highly of Cambodia’s success in Petanque, especially the reputation of Ms. Ke Leng who has won numerous gold medals on the international stage.
He will re-visit Cambodia again in November to oversee refereeing and arbitration training ahead of the championships.
Petanque, one of Europe’s most popular outdoor games, originated in the south of France in the early 1900s. The aim of the game is to roll a number of hollow steel balls – called boules – as close as possible to a small wooden target ball. Players take turns, and the team that ends up nearest to the target ball when all balls are played is declared the winner.
The kingdom’s petanque stars are consistently in and around the podium at international competitions. Sok Chan Mean brought home a gold medal from the 47th World Championships in Madagascar, while veteran Ke Leng is herself a two-time World Championship winner.
At the last SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur 2017, the women’s petanque doubles team of Ke Leng and Ouk Sreymom defeated Thai -duo Phantipha Wongchuvej and Pataratida Meepak 13-10 to claim gold – two of only four gold medals won by Cambodia at the regional showpiece.
Cambodia will host international athletes for the 17th World Women and Junior Petanque Championships between 18 – 24 November 2019.