The 17th edition of the Women’s and Junior Petanque World Championship will kick off today at Phnom Penh’s Olympic Stadium.
Some 80 teams from 49 countries will be competing in the tournament, according to the Cambodian Petanque Federation. The competition will run Nov 19-23.
Most of the teams that are competing come from Asia and Europe, including Italy, Norway, Sweden, Finland, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Monaco, Russia, Poland, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Czech Republic, Turkey, France and Bulgaria.
Cambodia, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Israel, Iran, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, China, Mongolia, and the Philippines are the participants from Asia.
Africa is represented in the tournament by Mauritius, Algeria and Madagascar, while the participants from North America are the United States and Canada. Australia, meanwhile, is the sole representative from Oceania.
Players and coaches of the participating teams were welcomed upon their arrival at the Phnom Penh International Airport by government and Federation officials led by Sar Sokha, president of the Cambodian Petanque Federation.
Several of the foreign delegations, including the teams from Italy and Mauritius, practiced at the stadium’s Petanque court on Sunday. While they practiced, workers were busy making final preparations at the tournament site.
Many local and foreign dignitaries, including top officials from the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports, are expected to grace the opening ceremony.
In Kim Srun, the former secretary-general of the Cambodian Petanque Federation, said in an earlier interview that the tournament will mostly revolve around the women and junior shooting and triple competitions.
Several thousand people, including many foreigners, are expected to watch the games. “Many foreign visitors are coming. This will be good for the Cambodian tourism industry,” Mr Srun noted.
To watch the games, foreigners (VIP seating) need to pay $15, foreigners (normal seating) $5, Cambodians (VIP) 15,000 riel, and Cambodians (normal) 5,000 riel.
This is the first time for Cambodia to host such big petanque tournament. The Kingdom edged out Taiwan, France, and Tunisia to win the right to host it.
Petanque, which originated in France, is among Europe’s most popular outdoor sports. The sport was later brought to Asia and other parts of the world during the colonial era.
Cambodia is among the regulars in international petanque competitions. The Kingdom has produced more than a few world championship gold medalists and often does well in competitions abroad.