Lao Petanque federation sets heavy schedule for 2009 SEA GAMES

Posted by samakomlao Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Lao Petanque Federation announced yesterday that it would be running a series of nationwide tournaments to select the best players to join the national squad.

According to federation official Mr Sengthong Chommalath, the schedule for this year's competitions is already complete, and will be held in three stages around the country.

Players in the southern provinces of Savannakhet, Saravan, Xekong, Attapeu and host Champassak will compete from February 23-24.

Vientiane and the central provinces of Vientiane , Khammuan and host Borikhamxay will compete from March 26-27, while the third stage will be held in Luang Prabang province from April 29-30, and include players from Xieng Khuang, Huaphanh, Phongsaly, Bokeo, Oudomxay, Xayaboury and Luang Namtha provinces.

The winners in each category will qualify to compete in a final round in Vientiane from May 17-18, and the best players will be chosen to attend a national training camp in the following month.

Although some have suggested that this will be too early to begin holding a training camp, Mr Sengthong maintains that players need as much time as possible to improve their skills before the 2009 SEA Games in Vientiane .

The federation plans to invite at least 30 players, many of whom are already rising stars, to compete in the SEA Games, with the hope that they will win at least four gold medals on their home turf.

But more than half of the national squad players will be newcomers, which will be a challenge when facing strong rivals Thailand , Vietnam and Cambodia , where most players have world-class experience.

However federation president Mr Khammoui Keomany still believes that new members of the national squad will do as well, if not better, than Lao players at previous editions of the SEA Games.

Mr Khammoui also said the “dream team” for the 2009 games would begin their international tour after the end of the wet season, while the finalists for the national squad would be selected in the lead-up to the games.

The 2009 SEA Games will run from December 9-18; all main events will take place in the capital, while some will take place in provincial arenas in Vientiane , Luang Prabang and Savannakhet.

By Sisay Vilaysack

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