The Petits As 2021 tournament is going to take place this year in Tarbes at the start of September. Good news for teenagers from all over the world who participate every year.
A Petits As tournament in September is a first. Find out under what conditions this tennis tournament, reserved for 14 years old and under, can take place.
Claudine and Jean-Claude Knaebel and Jacques Dutrey, the founders of the tournament, present the 39th edition of the Petits As which takes place from September 2 to 12 at the Tarbes exhibition center. A different edition from previous years because of the Covid-19.
Jean-Claude Knaebel: This 39th edition should have taken place in January 2021. But at that time, the Covid-19 was not in decline but in progression. We therefore asked our national and international bodies (FFT, Tennis Europe) to postpone the date of the tournament. In agreement with the management of the Tarbes exhibition center, we have decided to organize it at the beginning of September. It takes, in fact, a month and a half to prepare the site. We have been there since July 19 and will be leaving on September 17. We thought that the sanitary period would be less lively. But we see with the Delta variant that we are somewhat in the same state. But we absolutely want to do this tournament out of sportsmanship and competition. We thought of all the teenagers who want to make this tournament, which is a must for them, and who have reached the age limit, could not have made it to next year.
Jean-Claude Knaebel: We are very happy in terms of sport. We have, indeed, excellent news since Friday as there are 42 nations registered with Tennis Europe to participate in the Petits As. There will be 8 nations for the wheelchair tournament. It’s unexpected. We were worried that some players could not reach Tarbes due to lack of air links. We now hope that everyone arrives well in Tarbes. Some players have been in academies in France or Spain for several weeks. The athlete seems to us saved today as we speak. We are the only tournament in France to be in a super category and the Petits As tournament is the only tournament of this type to take place in 2021.
Jean-Claude Knaebel: We were very scared. We knew that in January it was impossible to organize it. We made every effort to postpone the date and therefore maintain a tournament in 2021. Last Thursday, the Prefect of Hautes-Pyrenees gave us the green light to organize the tournament. Until then, there was always the risk of having to cancel it. It is a relief. It is very important for the young people that this tournament takes place. They will be able to come and score points thanks to the Petits As.
Claudine Knaebel: We are subject by Tennis Europe, the French Tennis Federation and the Hautes-PyrénÃ © nÃ © es to health constraints such as in shopping centers. A tonnage of 1000 people was granted for the tournament without counting the organizers and the players. The players will not be able to meet the public. There will therefore be an entry and an exit which will be reserved for players in the north. Fortunately, the fairground is large. It makes it possible to set up such a device.
The audience will go in and out east. The adult public must have the health pass to enter the tournament. There will be a temperature check for those under 18 who are not subject to the health pass. Wearing a mask will be mandatory indoors during the 11 days because we are in a covered enclosure. The entry check will be carried out by a security officer accompanied by a volunteer from the organization. It will also be possible to call a doctor. We will have two doctors who will be present during the tournament.
Everyone who participates in the organization is vaccinated. They will also have to sign a document saying that all is well and they will have to start the day with a temperature reading. There is only one referee who was not vaccinated and therefore was not selected. As for the coaches if they do not have a health pass, they will have to take a test every three days. For the players, there will be a temperature check and they will have to sign a sheet every day saying everything is fine or reporting any problems.
Jacques Dutrey: It will be a very special tournament in the sense that there will not be all the entertainment that was usually offered. We will not have this year, the trampolines, the climbing wall, the air force, the clownsâ ?? ¦ To maintain these animations, it would have taken a considerable amount of cleaning work. . The hall will therefore be divided in two. A large partition will separate the public part from that of the organizers, players and coaches. Sportingly, it’s going to be a very good tournament because we already know that players come with ambitions because there have been very few tournaments this year. They won’t be there to do the extras.
Jean-Claude Knaebel: So we will not have the same conviviality of the village of the previous editions. But it was better to remove some animations in order to be able to maintain the tournament. The village will be smaller but it will remain nice. There you will find the shop, the refreshment bar, the Lavazza cafÃ ©. We can also eat. On the Lacoste stand, there will also be an animation to win balls. We will also find the mini-tennis. This 39th edition also marks the return of a big partner. CrÃ © dit Agricole is making a comeback. They had already been by our side for 18 years. We are very happy with this return.
Claudine Knaebel: We have maintained the presentation of the delegations on Tuesday, September 7 with the presentation of the city’s medal by the mayor of Tarbes. We hope Tennis Europe will not veto it. The dance gala is maintained but with fewer participants. There will be 4 schools compared to 7 usually. Last season was tough for these schools. They were unable to work normally. They will not resume for this new season until September 2. They will therefore occur with students who have been present for several years. It will be a quality gala but with fewer students than the previous editions.
On Friday September 10, there will be the Boom Years evening in hall number 3. The public will be seated. Admission is 20 euros. This is the only paid event for Les Petits As. You must of course have the health pass and the mask.
Jean-Claude Knaebel: We can count on 180 volunteers. This is the great strength of this tournament. We have no difficulty there. We even have a waiting list with over a dozen people.
The day we leave but it is not tomorrow, we will require in the agreements that we will sign with our authorities that this tournament remains in Tarbes, that entry remains free because it is a show teenagers and let everything be a volunteer.
Claudine Knaebel: If our tournament was able to be maintained this year by postponing its date, it is because we only rely on volunteers. We all get our hands dirty. The three of us are very close to the volunteers. For us, volunteers are our family.
Jean-Claude Knaebel: 13 hotels will welcome them. It represented 4000 nights. Sodexo will serve 8,000 meals at the exhibition center.
want to celebrate this event which will happen very quickly since it is in
three and a half months. Will we be out of the Covid crisis? Will it be necessary
move the date back a bit? Our desire is to set up a program
really tantalizing for this anniversary. We have quite a few things
in mind but that we are keeping to ourselves for now. For now,
the urgency is going to be to block a date. It’s very difficult at this point
in the face of the uncertainty in which we always find ourselves faced with
this health crisis.
a magnificent human and sporting adventure. But we have known
also sad moments with the disappearance of HervÃ © SimÃ © on at the age of
35 years old or that of HervÃ © Bourgeix. We had many
volunteer friends who are also deceased. We are proud of the fact that
in the current top ten in the world, in 8 boys have passed
by Small Aces and among women, 6 out of ten.
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