This weekend the third edition of a very popular competition was back in Monaco to tie up the most authentic Monegasque and Southern-French traditions. The third edition of the Alain Ducasse Pétanque Tournament under the umbrella of the Monegasque Boules Federation, was held on the 4th and the 5th September 2021 gathering in Monaco at the Boulodrome Rainier III the best talented women’s athletes from French Riviera and Europe. This prestigious competition, in the name of the most popular starred Chef with Monegasque descent, was also the way to rediscover the roots of the Provence through one of its most sociable sport.
The Pétanque, in fact, takes its first steps at the beginning of the last century in Marseilles region, as the heir of the glorious game of bowls much known from the greatest civilizations of the past. Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘To catch the Thief’ starring Grace Kelly and Cary Grant shows one game in the plot making the Pétanque known all over the world.
The players’ inability to move their feet in the initial launch imposed by the game rules that requires you to keep your feet anchored to the ground, using the ‘pés tanqués’ (feet together) technique to shoot the cue ball (‘cochonnet’ or ‘but’) or bring the ball close to the cue ball or set the ball as close as possible to that of the opponent, makes this sport really challenging. During the years, Monaco’s ‘tournoi’ has shown a true parade of stars of the Pétanque and still promises much more for the future.
“Many women of all ages love playing the Pétanque because it is a sport in which women’s performances are equal to those of men and indeed ladies often prevail in terms of final outcome; furthermore, it is also spreading rapidly among the new generations in schooling age being quite easy to learn”, pointed out to HelloMonaco Serge Turuani (S.T.), President of the Club Bouliste Monégasque – “consequently, we decided to conceive this unique tournament in honour of one of the greatest Monegasque figures, Monsieur Ducasse, who loves this game very much and agreed with pleasure to sponsor us from the very first year”.
HelloMonaco: What does the Pétanque represent for the Principality?
S.T.: It really represents its heritage and the Sovereign Prince, Himself, is a loyal supporter and player. Gareth Wittstock, brother of H.S.H. Princess Charlène of Monaco, is a great fan as well and he often visit the club to play. He has recently planned a Soirée Pétanque with the most popular Rugby players within Monaco World Rugby Sevens Repechage. Not by chance, this panoramic bowling alley was founded by the Sovereign Prince in 2014 in the name of H.S.H. Prince Rainier III. We are then committed to keep this meaningful tradition offering to anyone who wants free-of-charge training courses every Wednesdays. The Pétanque, in fact, can be also a pleasant pastime of fun, as well as having the chance to become an expert like the players who are attending this two-day challenge. The great participation to the 2021 edition counting seventy-two teams representing Monaco and more than twenty French departments, demonstrates the growing popularity of this sports game that was about to be included as official discipline in the next Olympic Games. Meanwhile, from the 9th until the 10th October 2021, we will host in Chapiteau de Fontvieille the third edition of the International Pétanque Challenge Prince Héréditaire Jacques.
“This tournament is definitely a great success reaching a sold out in terms of participants, regardless the health period still precarious”, highlighted Didier Fulconis, president of the Monegasque Boule Federation – “At least three world champions attended the event plus nine Monegasque teams. Women’s Pétanque combines charm to technique in a very welcoming and less competitive atmosphere than men”. But also new the generation is falling in love with Pétanque.
“My mission is to give a new face to Pétanque, showing also its ‘free-style’ side, through my iconic photos and videos that are gathering great international support both on Social Media and global networking”, reaffirmed Tanguy Penin from Monaco Team, the most popular Pétanque influencer and young athlete.
What about the sporting spirit among the 2021 players? HelloMonaco felt the ground during the matches. “It is always a great pleasure to be here in Monaco benefiting of a perfect organization and surrounded by nice people”, stressed Nadège Baussian-Protat, French Champion and winner of the past edition – “I have approached the Pétanque since I was very young because it was a popular game in my family, then I really enjoyed it and started to take part to some tournaments…, I got good results and it became a real sport for me”.
“In order to succeed in this discipline you need to be familiar with the bowls and be very focused on what you are doing”, underlined Aurélia Blázquez Ruiz, 2015 World Champion – “being surrounded by teammates that make you comfortable is even crucial”, she added.
“The Pétanque is made by conviviality and team spirit”, stressed Marie-Lyne Bolis – “you need also a constant weekly training to achieve a good level of performance and then amuse yourself since your early age like Vittoria Tomatis Garabuggio, the youngest player of this edition, aged 11”, she added. These two players are from Monaco Team which entered the final measuring up with the winning team.
On Sunday the 5th August, Nadège Baussian-Protat and Fanja Aubriot were awarded the first-prize trophy for the second time in the presence of H.E. Patrice Cellario, Minister of the Interior, and H.E. Marie-Noëlle Gibelli, member of the Conseil National representing Monaco institutions.
“We are pleased to assist to this successful edition where we have enjoyed the best Pétanque women players making some complex technical shots on long distances with a high-level attendance thanks to Monaco’s Federation savoir-faire”, pointed out to HelloMonaco the Minister of the Interior.
“We are really happy for this successful outcome as a result of full concentration and flexibility to better adapt to the playing field”, stated Fanja Aubriot, looking forward to attending the 2022 edition.