Lao petanque fans looking forward to the 25th SEA Games

Posted by samakomlao Sunday, July 26, 2009

Many Lao people around country like to play petanque for entertainment in their free time but have never had the opportunity to cheer for their nation's top players at an international event.

The 25th SEA Games in Vientiane this December will provide the chance for petanque fans from all around the country to urge on their nation's players.

One of Laos ' top petanque players, Mr Vatthanaxay Khamphavong, is a 32 year-old from Nhong village in Sanasomboun district of Champassak province.

He has been training with other national players at the National University of Laos since February in preparation for the games.

Petanque at this year's games will include the shooting event for just the second time in the games' history. In the shooting event, competitors try to hit balls placed in a circle from distances ranging from 6 to 9m. Points are scored according to where the balls end up.

Mr Vatthanaxay said the shooting event is different from other petanque styles and is very challenging.

At the last games in 2007 Mr Vatthanaxay remained calm and composed during a tight final to beat his Thai opponent and win the gold medal in the shooting event.

Mr Vatthanaxay is married to Chintana Thebsoulinthone and has 2 year-old daughter. He said he often misses his family because he must stay in accommodation in Vientiane while in training.

His parents are farmers and he has three sisters and four brothers who are all supporting him in his quest for success at the games.

He has vowed to do his best to retain his gold medal and is urging people to attend the petanque at during the games.

Mr Vatthanaxay said he will continue training for international events after the games and hopes to one day become involved in teaching petanque to young players.

Mr Vatthanaxay claimed 30 points to win the gold medal of the shooting event at the eighth National Games in Champassak province last December.

The petanque event at the SEA Games will consist of men's and women's singles, shooting, doubles, mixed doubles and team (four players) categories.

At the last games, Laos won gold medals in the men's and women's shooting events and bronze medals in the men's and women's singles, men's doubles and team, and mixed doubles categories.

By Sangkhomsay Bubphanouvong

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