Pétanque is a sport played by all ages and both sexes the only sport in which Laos has made any sort of impact on the international stage.
Soulasith Khamvongsa has won medals at the South-East Asian Games, the Asian Pétanque Championships and is considered to be amongst the top 40 players in the world. He is arguably Laos' most successful sportsman. At the age of 17, he was chosen to represent Laos at the 2001 South-East Asian Games in Malaysia. It was the first time that Pétanque had been included in the Games and Soulasith led his nation to gold in the Doubles event.
Soulasith Khamvongsa, Pétanque player said "Pétanque has been popular in Laos for a long time, ever since the French brought the game over. But Pétanque's popularity really took off after we won that gold medal. When we got back I travelled around the country and played lots of exhibition matches in various villages. That was great fun."
Soulasith's success has been phenomenal. It was only the second time in 42 years that Laos had won a gold medal at the Games. Still at the age of just 24, he believes that he has yet to reach his peak in the sport. There are still lots of potential medals to win, starting in front of his home crowd at next year's South-East Asian Games.
In order to locate more talented players, the Laos Pétanque Federation is using local competitions to spot people that could make it onto the national team. The hope more Laotian petanque heroes will make their way onto the international stage.