THE Philippines hopes to make a respectable showing in petanque competition in the Southeast Asian Games which the country is hosting later this year.
“We plan to participate in overseas training camps and competitions to help our athletes gain enough experience,” said Lulet Gonzales-Tiston, president of Philippine Petanque Clubs Association.
A French outdoor bowls game, petanque will be held on Nov. 28, two days before the opening ceremony, and it will last until December 6.
Among the petanque events that will be played are men’s and women’s doubles, and men’s and women’s triples.
Being the SEA Games host, the country has a shot at making it to the podium. The national petanque pool is currently training at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.
Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam are expected to figure prominently in the medal race.
Petanque has similarities with lawn balls and bocce. Unlike those sports, petanque is played on gravel, the ball is metal instead of wood, and you throw the ball underhanded.
”Anybody can play the sport, and learn it fast. As with many bowl games, it takes consistency and concentration, not size and athletic ability,” said Gonzales-Tiston.
The Philippine Petanque Clubs Association is a member of the Federation Internationale de Petanque et Jeu Provencal (FIPJP) and Asian Boules Sports Confederation (ABSC) and is currently applying for membership in the Philippine Olympic Committee.
“We are grateful to the Philippine Sports Commission for its full support to our program,” said Gonzales-Tiston, who remains upbeat that pétanque will played in schools across the country.