The teams from petanque powerhouses Thailand and France dominated the recently-concluded 17th Women’s and Junior Petanque World Championship that Cambodia hosted.
The two countries, which often feature in the top five in international petanque competitions, won the first and second spots in the world championship.
Thailand won the first place after it bagged two gold medals and one bronze.
Thailand was particularly impressive in the Women’s Triple category, where it ran away with the first place after beating Laos, 13-4, in the finals.
Thailand also won the top spot in Junior’s Shooting, where it routed Monaco, 37-15, in the championship round. Earlier, the Thais narrowly won against African powerhouse Madagascar, 41-33, to advance to the finals.
France, meanwhile, came out of the tournament with one gold and two bronze medals to win second overall. The French won the Junior’s Triple crown after an impressive 13-1 win against Laos in the finals.
France beat the Thais earlier, 13-8, to advance to the championship round, while Laos reached the finals after winning against Spain, 13-7, in their own semifinal match.
The third place overall went to host Cambodia. The Kingdom won a gold medal courtesy of Ke Leng.
The 54-year-old petanque star beat her Lao counterpart Bivilak Thepphakan, 36-22, in the gold medal match in Women’s Shooting to the delight of her compatriots, including Prime Minister Hun Sen.
“Congratulations to our sport heroine, Ke Leng, who successfully defended her Petanque World Champion Title for the third time,” the Prime Minister said on his official Facebook page.
Leng has won many petanque medals while representing Cambodia on the international stage.
In October last year, Leng won a gold medal at the Petanque World Championships in France. Prior to that, she and another Cambodian petanque star, Ouk Sreymom, won a gold medal in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia. Leng also won a bronze medal in the 16th edition of the women’s world championship two years ago.
Laos, which had three runner-up finishes, was fourth overall, followed by Monaco with one silver. China, Spain, Madagascar and Myanmar won one bronze medal each.
The event was held at Olympic Stadium from November 18-23. Some 49 countries from around the world participated in the tournament.
France won the 16th edition of the world championship that China hosted two years ago. The Thais, meanwhile, were the world champions in 2013 and runner-up in 2015. The tournament is held every two years.