Bertal Blow For Les Bleus

22.08.2003

From Isabelle Rondeau, PA International, Paris

France coach Alain Jardel will be without young centre Elodie Bertal this weekend against Belgium, Slovakia and Poland at a friendly tournament in Lorient ahead of the European Championships.

Bertal, 19, is suffering from a foot injury and will miss out on the three games which are being staged in Lorient's Palais des Sports Kervaric.

"We will have to do without Elodie Bertal unfortunately," Jardel said.

"I was really willing to include her in the team but she is suffering from a stress fracture.

"We are now without a player who was very promising. We will have to do with the 15 remining players."

Bertal, who played for Euroleague side Union Sportive Valenciennes Olympic this year, averaged five points a game at the recent World Championships for Young Women.

Les Bleus, the European champions, open against Group A rivals Poland on Friday night in Lorient and then face Slovakia on Saturday before taking on Belgium Sunday.

They continue their preparations at a tournament in Grenoble next weekend where Hungary, Russia - beaten finalists two years ago in the championships - and Australia will be the opposition.

The Aussies were bronze medalists at the World Championships in China last year.
After the Grenoble tournament, the French team will travel to Levallois near Paris for a final training period before flying to Greece on September 11.

They launch their title defence on September 19 in Pyrgos against Israel.


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