The genteel world of pétanque has been rocked by accusations that Belgian players use cocaine to give them a performance-enhancing edge in international matches.
British holidaymakers have long been charmed by the sight of aging players idly tossing their boules on the sun-kissed courts and squares of France.
But two leading Dutch pétanque internationals have sparked outrage in the sport by claiming that Belgian players dope in the hard-fought matches.
“I know enough Belgian players who use coke,” Edward Vinke, 46, told the the Vice sports website. “They go to the toilet and do not throw a wrong ball when they come back. They really feel like the king.”
“I experienced it once,” Kees Koogje, 27, told the website,“We were far ahead and had played flawlessly. Then they went to the bathroom for ten minutes and came back with huge eyes. Everything went well for them.”
Why would cocaine aid? Is it a confidence thing? Going for throws that more normally wouldn’t be tried but should be?