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What is Petanque?

Featured / Petanque / Slider / June 6, 2016

Ever heard of pétanque or per-tonk? For many, this lesser-known sport could sound a little foreign. For some, it could be dismissed as an old-man sport.

You may not have noticed, but pétanque has been playing its part in building Singapore’s sporting landscape. Since 1999, pétanque has been actively making its debuts in various forms, and in different scenes.

In 2014, the pétanque athletes bagged 7 medals in 4 different international sporting events. Just last year, Team Singapore participated in the 28th SEA Games. In the coming July, the Singapore homegrown pétanque athletes will be taking up the challenge to compete at the 18th ASEAN University Games!

So what is pétanque?

For a start, here are some fun facts for your easy digestion:

Where did pétanque originate from?

France. Pétanque is a modified form of boules games which does not involve any form of running to accommodate participants with leg injuries.

When and why was pétanque officially introduced in Singapore? 

In 1985, pétanque was introduced to Singaporeans by the People’s Association and the Singapore Sports Council. It was meant to be a recreational exercise for the senior citizens.

When did pétanque first take up the form of a competitive sport in Singapore?

Prior to 2001, Singapore athletes have had made their debuts at various international pétanque competitions. However, the major paradigm shift in Singapore’s history of pétanque only occurred in 2001 when pétanque was introduced as a sport to students.

With the injection of young blood, pétanque started to take up the form of a competitive sport with Singapore representatives competing in various local, regional and international competitions.

What do you need for a game?

A hollow metal ball (aka boule)

A wooden ball (aka jack)

A circle of a diameter ranging 35 to 50 centimetres – typically drawn into sand or dirt

A pétanque pit or any flat surface

A measuring tape

How is pétanque played?

Aim of the game:

To toss, or roll boules towards a jack placed at a distance between 6 to 10 metres from the circle

Number of players: 

It could be a game of individual, doubles or triples.

Scoring system:

The first team to reach 13 points wins. Otherwise, the team that attains the highest score during a timed game (1hour 15minutes) wins.

Where can pétanque be played? 

In a bid to encourage seniors to take up the sport, pétanque pits have been built across our heartlands by the Housing Development Board (HDB) and are free for public access. To name a few: Marine parade, Taman Jurong and Choa Chu Kang. Otherwise, pétanque can be played on almost any flat surface too!

Has the article piqued your interest for pétanque? If it did, then head down to a pétanque pit to try your hands at pétanque this weekend!


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