The n°45 of Planète Boules has just been published - find below the international news of the bowls world - Interview: OSWALD HOMEKY, MINISTER OF SPORTS OF BENIN.
Benin wishes to equip itself with a covered Petanque court of international standards. Where do you stand with this project in view of the next World Championships that will take place in Benin ?
First of all, i would like to confirm that the world championships will indeed be held in Benin. I would like to say that this project is progressing well, the boulodrome will be built. It will be ready in about 12 or 14 months at the most. We have discussed this matter with the International Federation of Petanque and Jeu Provençal whose president was in Benin. I can reassure you that we will be able to readjust the calendar so that this boulodrome will allow us to hold this large-scale competition.
What can we retain from your exchanges with the president of the International Federation of Petanque and Jeu Provençal ? What we can retrain is that we are working together so that this world championship takes place in the best conditions. I recall that the architect who was recruited by Benin was advised by the FIPJP. This allowed everyone to see in a transparent way the difficulties and the solutions to be found to succeed. As far as we are concerned, all our commitments will be fulfilled. Benin has indeed mobilised the resources. The site was made available, identified and chosen by the President of the Republic himself.
During this very quick 48-hour visit, the first meeting brought together, around the two visitors, the ministers concerned with living conditions and sustainable development, José Tonato, Youth and Sports Oswald Homeky and their main collaborators. President Azéma expressed the concerns of the Executive Committee expressed during its last meeting in Denmark, as well as the impossibility of postponing this competition to 2023, which will already see the Women's, Youth, Singles, Doubles and Mixed Doubles World Championships. He added that he thought that the construction of the boulodrome should be separated from the competition and that the FIPJP could organise another competition for its inauguration.
The ministers insisted a lot on the double will of the President of the Republic to equip his country with a quality boulodrome and to make the 50th World Championship an exceptional event, well in line with the national policy of "Benin revealed".
This desire was put into practice the next day during a meeting with the contractors and the State services, including the finance department, since the budget of 5 billion CFA francs (about 7.6 million euros), voted by the National Assembly, was paid into the dedicated account with orders to honour the advances to the chosen companies, including a French company for the construction of the framework. An exemption from customs duties and VAT for all imported materials was also obtained on the spot, which will represent a significant saving.
Victor Ananouh, Director of Housing and Construction, and Joseph Chaboury, CEO of ITB Benin, who are used to working together on a large number of projects, were entrusted with the management of operations.
After refusing to allow the construction of a structure capable of hosting the competition at the end of the year, but without character, the only solution to meet the deadlines due to internal procrastination in the country, the Government of Benin and, above all, its President of the Republic are keen that these 50th World Championships mark the history of Pétanque and show the world that their country is at the forefront of modern states.
Today, the discussions are not closed and it will be up to the Executive Committee to decide in view of the documents and the report that will be presented to them soon. In this respect, the interview with the Minister for Sport this week, which was reported in all the media, is an important new testimony. It is even possible that a solution could be found that would allow the 50th World Championships to be held in the boulodrome, perhaps with a slight postponement, without overloading the international calendar and with a pleasant surprise in store for the participating federations, particularly in financial terms.