The sport of boules has launched a bid to be included in the 2024 Olympics and be part of the summer games, which Paris is bidding to host. The Bowls Sports World Confederation is campaigning on behalf of three games in order to bid them to be part of the Olympics, and these are: the French petanque, the Boule Lyonnaise and the Raffa, a version of a popular game that is found in Italy. Various organizations have been trying to convince the Olympic committee to recognize the sport but to no avail.
“We are a competitive sport that requires a lot of skill, strategy, and fitness. 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. It’s not about excluding any sports, it’s about being inclusive. We just want some to field fewer teams and make room for us,” said Claude Azema, president of the Confederation Mondiale des Sports de Boules. He wanted to correct the misconception of the sport to be only a game of fun.
He also added, “The sport promotes the gathering of men and women regardless of their age, origin, religion or professional background. This game, a socially unifying and health-promoting leisure sport, deserves to be part of the Olympics.”
Alain Cantarutti, president of the French Boules Federation, hoped that one day their pleas and petitions would be answered sooner than later. A Frenchman named Thierry Tomasin launched a British version tournament of the petanque two years ago. However, this year’s event attracted more than 13,000 players from 20 countries along with more than 10,000 spectators. He said that there are about 2,000 registered players in Britain while some are French who settle in the UK.
Boules may have an advantage since Paris is the host, but if the bidding fails, there will always be the pastis and the sandy courts under the hot summer sun.