The LBNY represented the USA at the 43rd World Championships of Pétanque in Pattaya. Team USA included LBNY members Yngve Bilsted, Xavier Thibaud, and Alec Stone Sweet, as well as Nghia Ngo. Ernesto Santos accompanied the team and gave much support. The Americans played badly. Though not an excuse, Xavier, Nghia, and Alec were all laid up in bed at various points, to sick to move.
The big surprise of the tournament was the dominance of Madagascar, which literally blew away every team it faced until the final game. In what is perhaps the most amazing feat ever witnessed at a World Championship, the Malgache eliminated defending champions France 2 fanny in the 1/8 finals, 13-0; then, a few hours later, in the quarter-finals, it beat France 1 by the score of 13-1. In one afternoon, Madagascar beat France 1 and 2, arguably the strongest teams in the world, by a combined score of 26-1!
Forced to play a game in the loser’s bracket, France 1 – Henri Lacroix, Bruno LeBoursicauld, Philippe Suchaud, and Thierry Grandet – was able to qualify for the semis. France 1 then beat Madagascar, the crowd’s favorite, in the final: 13-5. After missing a couple of balls in the first rounds, Suchaud hit all of his shots thereafter, making carreaux and carreaux at every distance. France has now won every year since 2001.
The Thais organized the games perfectly, albeit with a heavy police presence. Opening ceremonies provided some good photo ops for Martha.
Click here for pics of the Opening Ceremonies and of the Arena.
Click here for a selection of Martha’s favorite photos from the earlier rounds.
Click here for pics of Team USA.
Click here for pics of the finals.