Exam in boules

By Mr.Bordsenius at 2004-06-05

A big scoop in France: an optional test of pétanque as part of an entrance examination has just been organized in Marseille. Twelve candidates, the half being girls, coming from the whole academy of Aix-Marseille, were tested on Tuesday during three hours on this sport, which is the third of the most practised disciplines in the French department Bouches-du-Rhône behind football and tennis, with 22.000 licensed players.

The entrance examination, which is qualified as an "adapted test", included at the same time a practical part, during which were estimated the capacities of the candidates in “pointing” and “shooting”, but also a theoretical part in which the students were judged on their knowledge of the official regulation and on their strategy of the game.
"The test addresses those who, for medical reasons, can not pass through the compulsory traditional test of physical and sports education", as it is explained at the vice-chancellorship of the academy. It will give a note 2, which counts from the first group of tests, even if the candidate does not obtain the average.

The professional secondary school Florida, in the north districts of Marseille, was chosen as centre of the examinations because of its installations, in particular of the presence of a boulodrome. "It allows the candidates who present light handicaps to obtain points and not to be punished with regard to the others", as it is underlined in the school.
A representative of the vice-chancellorship chaired the jury of this pétanque examination. Four teachers of physical and sports education were mobilized for the occasion. They gave notes going from 9 to 18 on a scale of 20.

"On the evaluation scale it goes from 0 to 3 points: 0 if the boule is more than one metre of the jack, 3 if it is less than twenty centimetres", comments one of the examiners, Jean-Louis Gimenez, the teacher of physical en sports education (EPS) of the secondary school of Marseille Blaise Pascal, who is also in charge of the local champion’s team of pétanque of the first and second classes of the same institute. "This test was introduced for the first time this year in France".

"This test is going to allow valuing the educational and completely authentic aspect of the game of pétanque", remarks Jean-Pierre Arnaud, who is at the origins of the introduction of boules in the national Education and also chairman of the House of pétanque and “jeu Provençal”. In 1995, together with the vice-chancellor of the academy Paul Rollin, Jean-Pierre Arnaud, who is a passionate pétanque player, had launched an experimental sports section, but this one must be closed two years later, for lack of sufficient means.

In Marseille, other optional tests, like archery or recreation, can also be included to the entrance examination. Sources close to the vice-chancellorship say that certain academies installed, after the latest fashion, other disciplines, like skating in Briançon (department of Hautes-Alpes) or canoe at sea in La Rochelle (Charente-Maritime). AP

This story was first published at permanent.nouvelobs.com

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