Fans of the gentle French pastime of boules are on a roll. Not only has an agreement been signed to allow their sport to be played in French schools, but now they are also seeking Olympic recognition.
Generations of holidaymakers have fond memories of hours spent playing boules, while sipping pastis (aniseed liqueur) under plane trees.
But boules players say their game is a bona fide sport and should be taken as seriously as football or tennis.
“We are a competitive sport that requires a lot of skill, strategy, and fitness,” argues Claude Azema, President of CMSB, the world boules organisation. He rejects suggestions that it is just a game for fun.
“It’s not just a sport you play when camping in summer – that’s like saying Sunday joggers are in the same category as world marathon champions.”
And there is a sense in France of a concerted push for petanque, which is the most common version of boules in France.
The French education minister recently included it as a sport that could be played in French schools.
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