ECSG 2013 + 3 days + 152 doubles + 87 triples ₌ the largest tournament in the Czech Republic.

This year, we had the honor to organize a pétanque tournament for the 19th annual European Company Sport Games (  http://ecsg2013.eu), which took place in Prague in June 2013. The event's organizers and participants will surely remember it for a long time to come. Just a week before the tournament, it wasn't at all sure whether it could be held in the gardens of the Troja Chateau, since the park had been under two meters of water during the recent flooding. Fortunately, everything worked out; there aren't many places in Prague capable of hosting so many participants.

Thursday, June 20 was dedicated to doubles teams, with a record 152 teams participating – making the tournament the largest such undertaking in the history of pétanque in the Czech Republic. The order of play was determined by the same software used at the World Championships and was presided over by a member of the F.I.P.J.P. executive committee, "Charles". At the microphone was the 44th-ranked Czech player "Pjeer". Besides the hostesses and waiters, the only other Czechs in the tournament were Míra Pešout, Martin Bartoš, and Jarda Mrkvička, with Ivan and Jirka Ondryáš as referees. All the teams were from abroad – Germany, France, Scandinavia, Jersey, Poland,... some 11 countries in total. After four rounds of Swiss-system tournament and KO16 matches, it was clear that the title would go to Veolia, since all of the four semifinals teams were from this company.

On Friday, June 21 some 87 teams participated in the triples tournament, which included four Swisssystem rounds and KO32 matches. This may be hard to be believe, but once again all four semifinal teams came from Veolia.

With only one company playing in the semifinals, the organizers were concerned that not many people would show up to watch on Saturday at the Letná Chateau. But the fears proved unwarranted – never before have so many fans come to cheer on pétanque on Letná. They all enjoyed themselves while watching several excellent matches, even earning the applause of the players, who thanked them for their support.

The whole tournament took place in a magical atmosphere, thanks in part to the beautiful surroundings of the Troja Gardens and Letná, the players' excellent performances, and the universal strength of pétanque, which brings together easy-going yet competitive people in one big pétanque family. The participants appreciated the tournament's professional organization and filled the boulodrome even after the winners' ceremony in order to practice until the late evening hours for the 20th European Company Sport Games, to be held in 2015 in the Italian town of Riccione.

GHMP logoWe would like to take this opportunity to thank the Prague City Gallery and the staff of Troja Chateau for their willingness and support. Right after the floods, it would have been easy for them to say "sorry, it's impossible", but everyone involved looked for and found a solution, for which we – and above all our guests, the tournament participants – are truly grateful.

A complete photogallery from the Troja Gardens and Letná Chateau can be found here (Photos.google.com).