Gard “Land of Games” in the starting blocks to welcome delegations before the Paris Olympics

Gard “Land of Games” in the starting blocks to welcome delegations before the Paris Olympics

Fin août 2023, l’équipe de France féminine de basket 3X3 était venue au centre de Méjannes-le-Clap. D’autres délégations pourraient suivre cet été. Archive Stéphane Barbier – Midi Libre

Several sites in the department, Beaucaire, Nîmes, Le Grau-du-Roi, Uzès, Alès and Méjannes-le-Clap are impatiently awaiting the verdict of the Olympic qualifications.

With less than a hundred days until the Paris 2024 Olympic Games (July 26-August 12), pressure is mounting in the Gard-certified sites ready to welcome the delegations. "We had a security meeting last week at the prefecture. We are waiting for the result of all the qualifications which have not yet been completed. It’s difficult to have visibility", confides Vincent Bouget, vice-president of the Department responsible for sports.

Gard "Terre de Jeux" has six preparation centers labeled "but which will not necessarily accommodate the discipline like the Grau-du-Roi planned for sailing delegations and which will ultimately have, it’ ;rsquo;is in the pipeline, from June the men's handball team , specifies Vincent Bouget. Nîmes, rather intended to welcome archers, could well have Egyptian handball players thanks to the reputation of the Usam club.

Our big advantage is having everything on site

In addition to the nautical center of Port-Camargue, the centers will be located at Alès (Raphaël Pujazon stadium and Ghislain Amsellem sports hall), at Nîmes (Stade de l’Assomption), at Méjannes-le-Clap (Espace Gard discovery), at < strong>Beaucaire (Adrien Hardy nautical base) and Uzès (Boxing club). "We work constantly while waiting for the arrival of delegations", explains Ghislain Chassary, elected official and president of the Center departmental sports center of Méjannes-le-Clap, structure dating from the end of the 1970s in full revival thanks to the Department.

The site has served as a setting for numerous events, such as a stage of the Étoile de Bessèges cycling event or more recently the Handi Gard Classic, which raise awareness of the ;rsquo;infrastructure for Swiss and Dutch para-cycling training: "Our big advantage is that we have everything on site, accommodation, sports equipment. Whenever we have the opportunity, we show you the sports equipment.

Several nations already interested

At the end of August 2023, the French women's 3X3 basketball team came to train, as did the Puerto Rico delegation. Networking works in the disciplines of cycling, but also breaking where foreign delegations show an interest in the Méjannais site.

Five athletes and two supervisors from the Thai Paralympic cycling team have already been won over. Brazil's rugby sevens players were also very close to coming to Méjannes-le-Clap, as was the American women's synchronized swimming team. The departmental council does not want to enter into competition with labeled sites from other regions: "We have chosen not to finance the delegations, d  rsquo;others do it elsewhere", slips Vincent Bouget. "We actually expect to have all the sports", he adds.

In Nîmes, renovation work on the Assomption municipal stadium (offices, meeting room, covering of the shooting ranges) continues. They are expected to be completed in May. Sports director of the Arc club of Nîmes, Olivier Grillat is also waiting for the end of the qualifications during the world tournament in mid-June to know which archers will come to prepare."We will host the Ivory Coast for an internship from May 9 to June 14. If the archers qualify, they will prepare in Nîmes. We will each time have one or two athletes per country. 40 participants from the last international tournament in Nîmes will be at the Olympics."

The Arc club of Nîmes, thanks to the reputation of its competition, should attract many archers from the end of June.

The question of accommodation

In the center of Méjannes-le-Clap, the capacityé to welcome and accommodate delegations does not exceed 50 places. The Gard sites selected could not in any case accommodate nations like the United States which arrive with several hundred people. The biggest teams, those already in the lead. qualified for the Olympic Games, have already chosen their site within a radius of 200 à 300 km around Paris.

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