Showdown in France|
< Back to countries overview
2010 Devisport are planning to organize a national three rounds tournament in February, April and June.
Showdown was introduced in France in the 1980s. Experimental tables (which have mostly been destroyed now) were built. There were a few here and there:
in particular, there was one in the National Institute for Young Blinds (INJA in French). However, they do not respect the current regulatory dimensions.
Considering the difficulty regarding the tables storage, Handisport decided to abort the project.
Currently, there are three Showdown clubs which are registered with the Handisport federation (i.e. the sports federation for disabled people). Devisport,
the club I'm part of, was the first one to be created in 2001. It is located in Paris. Nowadays, there are 7 to 8 players who train every Saturday evening
in a sports room. Devisport is also at the head of the Showdown movement: it does many demonstrations in France to present Showdown to the public. There
will be such a demonstration next September 13 in Bourges, a small city in center east of France. It also translates and sends the Rules to any Showdown
club and player it knows about. In other words, it does a federal job more or less.
The two other clubs are respectively called "Colombes Handisport Olympique" and "Club Sportif de l'AVH Touraine". They are located in Colombes, near Paris,
and in Tours, a city on the Loire river not very far away from Paris. Colombes Handisport Olympique will really start practicing in September, although
it has already made some demonstrations and helped in the organization of the first French Showdown tournament. The club in Tours started in April and
is extending its activity: indeed, its President plans on purchasing a second Showdown table and playing every Wednesday from 10am to 5pm or so.
We also know of some non-registered clubs that play for pure leisure. There is one in Paris where around 4 or 5 players practice every Friday afternoon
for two hours. I know of another one in Laval, not far away from Tours, although I haven't been in contact with them. I believe there is another one in
Montoban, in Souh-West of France near the Spanish border. However, since they do not plan on going to competitions, most of the players are not overly
One club is being created in Yerres, near Paris. However, I've been told by the President that they are facing quite some difficulties with their local
administration who doesn't want to allocate them a playing room. They are actively trying to find one. This club is orienting itself on young players'
training, whether they be sighted or blind.
The first French Tournament which we called "Tournoi de France de Showdown" took place on June 27, 2009 in Colombes due to the extensive help from Colombes
Handisport Olympique to Devisport and the no less extensive financial support from the Handisport Departmental Comitee of department 92 and the Sports
Movement Office of Paris 6th District. We managed to get 11 players, males and females alike, some of whom didn't know much about Showdown. There were
3 tables. I was sacred Champion of France, with 10 victories in 10 matches, each time in 2 sets out of 3, plus semi-final and final (in 3 sets out of 5).
We had two French referees, Friedrich Lühl (who was injured and couldn't play for that matter) and Paul Bignier, plus two Dutch referees who came to give
us a great deal of help, Ghislaine van den Hoorn and Peter Haazer. Both were excellent referees. As I told Ghislaine, they taught us the virtue of excellency.
As this was our first tournament, the organization was a bit difficult. However, I believe we have learnt our lesson and we will do better the next time.
Next year, we plan on organizing three national tournaments in February, April and June. These tournaments will help us to determine how many male and female
players there are and, possibly, we can create a league with several divisions. For the time being, we are limited to 36 players due to the fact that we
can provide only 6 tables and that the tournament can only take place during a weekend. We also hope to create an international tournament.
For that purpose, we have asked for subventions to buy tables which will be dedicated to the competitions and the demonstrations. We hope we will get them.
IV. National committee
Despite our best efforts, Showdown is not recognized as a sport in itself by the Handisport federation; it is only considered as a leisure game. Therefore,
we cannot get any subvention from the Federation. The Regional and Departmental committees allocate us some money in order to develop the sport in France.
In order to be considered as a sport, showdown must be played by at least five clubs registered with the federation as offering Showdown in their practice
panel. For the moment, there are only three. There may be a fourth in September. however, we have already started to make contact with the federation in
order to create this National Commitee. That is going to be very interesting to follow. I'll keep you informed.
Secretary of Devisport
© Copyright 2009-2013 by SIF Synskadades Idrottsförening, Sweden. All rights reserved.