VIENTIANE， Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Lao Petanque Federation will continue supporting male and female players at the junior and open levels this year with national events organized ahead of international competitions.
At the junior level， the federation is helping with the National School Games' petanque event on Feb. 2-8. From March 3 to 5， the federation plans to hold the Prime Minister's Cup petanque competition at a campus of the National University of Laos.
The National Assembly President's Cup is slated from June 1-3 in northern Bokeo province and is expected to attract players from all across the country， local media reported on Friday. On Aug. 4-5， the federation will organize the Minister of Education and Sports Cup in capital Vientiane.
With the various tournaments the federation is aiming to develop young petanque players' skills while identifying talent for the national team.
"From the many events in Laos， the federation will be able to select the best male and female players to join the national teams to compete in international competitions this year，" Lao Petanque Federation Coach Somxay Keopaseuth was quoted by state-run Vientiane Times.
"We have several male and female players with international experience and success but we're always on the lookout for emerging talent，" he added.
The national teams will compete at the ASEAN Petanque Championship in Indonesia this April， at the Southeast Asia (SEA) Games in Malaysia in August， at the World Petanque Championship for women's teams and junior male players in China during October. Later in November， teams will compete at the Asian Petanque Championship in Vientiane.
The Lao petanque team successfully held onto its top ranking at the third ASEAN Petanque Championships on home soil last August after winning five gold， six silver and seven bronze medals from 12 petanque events.
However， the Lao team only won a silver medal in the petanque mixed doubles event at the Asian Beach Games in Vietnam last year.