Rugby 7s, 3×3 basketball and beach volleyball all won medals at the Gymnasiade, at the end of a week full of emotions.
An Olympic discipline, rugby 7 is also on the agenda at the Gymnasiade. Composed of Norman players, the French teams clearly set themselves a single objective: to win. For girls, the competition starts in the best way. On the lawn of the Jean Mermoz stadium in Rouen, the Tricolores made the perfect match against Turkey (50-0), before disposing of Hungary (40-7). Still in the group stage, Les Bleues continue: 28-0 against Kazakhstan, before a 51-0 against Mauritius. Qualified for the last four, the French rugbywomen continue their faultless. They find the Turks, which they correct (57-0). The final, again against an opponent from the pools, is only a formality. France, pushed by their public, won against Hungary (31-0) and won a well-deserved gold medal.
Rugby 7 transforms the try
Among the boys, the Norman players were also over-motivated at the idea of returning home with the gold around their necks. A desire that they show from the first meeting by sticking a 38-0 in Kazakhstan. More hung, the match against Chile gives birth despite everything to a victory (14-7). A new success against Mauritius (19-0) allows the Blues to open the door to the quarter-finals. This time, it is Ukraine which stands in the way of the young rugby 7s specialists. An obstacle cleared without incident (50-0). Faced with Romania, a nation with solid players, France encounters more difficulties. In his most complicated match of the competition, the French 7 snatched the victory (17-7). In the final, the stars are in the eyes even before kick-off, thanks to the presence of the legendary Byron Kelleher, double champion of France with Stade Toulousain. It is under the eyes of the New Zealander that France once again has Mauritius (29-7) to afford gold at home.
The 3×3 makes the show
If rugby has succeeded in its finals by going for gold, 3×3 basketball has missed the last step. For the boys, however, the course was faultless. An opening victory against Bahrain (13-8) before disposing of Serbia (20-6) then Nepal (21-0). Sovereigns, the tricolor basketball players end their group stage with a fourth victory, this time against Chile (21-10). More hooked, the quarter-final allows to highlight the French mind. The young 3×3 specialists manage to keep their lead to easily win against North Macedonia (19-7). The Blues then challenge the young and solid Slovenians for a place in the final. At the heart of the Esplanade Mandela in Le Havre, they combine skill and physical rigor to gain the upper hand (22-12). The final then pits France against Israel. Tense, less precise, the young tricolors are overtaken by what is at stake… and by an opponent who takes the opportunity to align the points. Israel won 21-12, depriving France of a victory at home.
Basketball players beaten at the finish
A heartbreaker for boys, but also for girls. Very ambitious for this competition, the young tricolors start with a nice success against Brazil (14-11), one of the favorites of the event. Beaten by Serbia (14-17), this French team does not let itself be defeated and wants to bounce back. Falling from Nepal (21-0), Les Bleues manage to qualify for the rest of the competition. Tense and hooked, the quarter-final highlights the fact that this French team does not have a huge margin over its competitors. She still won a knife duel against Slovenia (18-12). The suspense is again at the rendezvous in the semi-finals. Faced with an Estonian team which bravely plays its luck, the tricolor basketball players are mistreated… but win again, narrowly (18-15). But, facing a Chinese Taipei in verve since the start of the tournament, France logically gives in to the final (21-13). No matter: the adventure of French basketball will have been beautiful in Normandy.
The bronze volleyball players
Speaking of adventure, beach volleyball had a hell of a time during the Gymnasiade. The setting has had a lot to do with it: the magnificent and sunny beach of Deauville. For once, no American cinema in the city of Calvados, but the best young beach volleyball specialists on the planet. Members of Montpellier Beach Vol-ley, Noah Burlas and Théo Marty carried the hopes of the French team among the boys. The two tricolors dominate the Hungarian pair (2-1) in the quarter-finals, before falling against Latvia (0-2), depriving them of the ticket for the grand final. The disappointment over, Burlas and Marty manage to pull themselves together to get the bronze after a controlled victory against Kazakhstan (2-0). Among the girls, the French team was stopped in the quarter-finals by Mexico, finalist of this Gymnasiade 2022. But for Romane Sobezalz and Ninon Becart, the essential is elsewhere: having represented France, on the sand of the beach of Deauville, will remain a memory anchored for life.
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