Rugby: The Perfect Game

Clement Poitrenaud is a successful professional rugby player and is a rare player to have spent his whole professional career with the same club, Stade Toulousain mainly at Fullback or Centre. He has achieved great success with the club, winning three European Cups and four French Championships. Clement has also represented his country 47 times including two world cups in 2003 and 2007. He has also shares passions other than rugby and on a recent trip to Cambodia visited Kampuchea Balopp training sessions and spoke about rugby, photography and his impressions of the work we do.

Can you explain us why did you chose to holiday in Phnom Penh?

I’m passionate about photography, so I came with Florence At, a professional Photographer and good friend of mine, to teach the students of the PSE cinema school about photography. We stayed one week, and we have discussed and exchanged ideas about a lot of different things with the students, their stories, their passion, their dreams. We will select the best pictures they have taken during this week of work, and we will expose and auction them during a charity dinner organizsed in Toulouse by Gerard Calvé. Moreover, I took advantage of my trip to come and participate in some rugby training organised by Kampuchea Balopp.

Were you were aware of the work done by Kampuchea Balopp here in Phnom Penh?

Yes I knew Kampuchea Balopp through Maurice Cuquel, a friend of mine, a photographer as well, who came last year to follow Jean Baptiste (KB Program co founder and Program Development Manager) during three weeks and who gave me a lot of positive feedback about the work accomplished by Kampuchea Balopp. It’s also been a year that I have followed your association on Instagram, great pictures!

Can you tell us your feelings about the two rugby sessions you did with Kampuchea Balopp?

I was really surprised with the passion with which the kids were playing. We can see that they really like this sport, that they are really excited about it. Kampuchea Balopp educators are doing a great job, with a lot of different exercises, very dynamic on the field. We can feel that they master what they do. Kids are listening very well too, they are really serious and they’ve got a lot of talent!

What do you think about the work done by Kampuchea Balopp and the use of rugby as a tool of education in a country like Cambodia?

After discussing with JB and the PSE coordinators, I’ve discovered that Sport access in Cambodia was not a chance given to everyone. In France, doing sport is something normal and compulsory. Even if you don’t like it, you have to do some sport during your entire scholarship. Here in Cambodia, the majority of children don’t have Physical Education at school and there is no or very few opportunities for children to allow them to belong to a team or a club. That is why the work done by Kampuchea Balopp is very interesting. To allow the children to grow up and have this chance to train every week, to prepare and play some games, and so too feel part of a team project, it is a very noble mission. Rugby is a supplement to life, it allows a kid to improve his confidence of himself/herself and of the group. As a team and contact sport, it is the perfect game to participate to fulfillment and to the education of Youth.

If you have to choose only one memory about this week in Cambodia, which one would it be ?

Very hard to choose only one as this week was very intense. The visit to the rubbish dump with this young Khmer students passionate about photography were maybe the most unforgettable moments. To be confronted so closely to those life conditions cannot make anyone insensitive, and that’s why I am so appreciative about the work done by PSE to protect those kids from this horror. The games played at the end of the Under 15 training with Kampuchea Balopp was also a great moment of happiness and something I will remember.

Will you come back ?

I hope to come back as soon as possible, why not with my wife and small boy in the next summer holiday!

For More Photos visit our Facebook Gallery (copyright Florence At)

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