Petanque and Bowls, candidate with the Olympic Games of 2024, launches an operation seduction towards Asia

The International Petanque Federation proposes to Asian people to come and learn petanque in France. Petanque at the Olympics?. In any case, this popular sport, native of Provence, is a candidate to appear on the program of the Games of Paris in 2024. To achieve this, petanque relies on its new followers in Asia, where 25 countries have already created boules sports federations. In France, discovery courses are organised, particularly for Asians. At the boulodrome in the 12th district of Paris, about thirty South Koreans, especially from Seoul, attended one of these initiations.

"Train the first generation of competitors"
They are teachers, or employees of large companies around Seoul. All are dressed in the same royal blue sport shirts. All repeat the same gesture: a pendulum movement with their arms, a steel ball at their fingertips.
"We're starting from scratch," explains David Lesens, head of education and international relations at the South Korean Boules Federation. What we are trying to do today is to acquire a standard method that we can use in schools to train the first generation of competitors and achieve results very quickly.
One of the South Korean participants already seems to know the technique to throw the petanque ball well: "To throw you only use four fingers, it's useless to put your thumb", assures Tae Hoon Lee, stopover manager at Air France.
"We're less important than them of course," continues Claude Azéma, "but at least we recognize the sporting aspect of our discipline. Now the main manufacturers of balls are Thai, there are two manufacturers who have launched into the Asian market."


Claude Azéma, president of the international federation of petanque, surrounded by about thirty South Koreans which take part in an initiation. (CECILIA ARBONA/RADIO FRANCE)

It was naturally in Asia that Claude Azéma chose to launch his campaign of seduction among the IOC members so that petanque would become an additional sport at the Olympics in Paris in 2024.
There is pride in the eyes of Claude Azéma, president of the International Petanque Federation. "When I started involved in sport in general," he says, "I became president of the Jura Olympic Committee. I'm not saying I was ashamed to say I came from petanque, but I was saying I also played rugby. And now, wherever I arrive, even at the international level, even at the IOC level, it's'hello, boules!'."