Grimal Travels The World For Women's Basketball

14 June 2009

Jean-Paul Grimal knows plenty about sport, specifically basketball.

A former player for Toulouse in the French League, he has become one of the biggest travelling supporters of the French women's national team.

Since his retirement as a Vice President of an industrial company, Grimal uses his free time to combine his two loves:  Travel and sport.

He's been to China and Brazil following Les Bleues and now he has arrived in Riga for EuroBasket Women 2009 and he sat down with FIBA Europe.

FIBA Europe: Jean-Paul, welcome to EuroBasket Women 2009 in Riga, Latvia. How do you like the event so far?

Grimal: Thank you. I liked the games so far, especially the French ones since they are still unbeaten. Unfotunately there are not so many spectators at games without Latvian participation. But at least I can find a good seat like this.

FIBA Europe: What is the reason for you travelling to international Basketball events all over the world?

Grimal: I have a huge interest in Sport and Basketball is of course my favourite since I played it myself. But I do not only follow Basketball but also Handball and the Olympics. When I retired from my job I chose to support France at as many sporting events as possible.

FIBA Europe: You mentioned you are also following Youth Events?

Grimal: Yes, I started with U 18 and U19 men but now I also watch the respective Women's team. This year I will be goinig both to New Zealand and Thailand in July and August to watch the U19 World Championships.

FIBA Europe: Which ones were your first EuroBaskets?

Grimal: I went to Turkey in 2001 and have followed every EuroBasket since. For the Women this is only my second time after 2007. My favourite EuroBasket was in 2005 though since France performed really well and I had a great time in Belgrade.

FIBA Europe: How do you like Frances chances tonight against Turkey and for the rest of the tournament?

Grimal: Turkey is a very tough opponent who playes a lot more physical than our team (France) although they might not be as tall. But if we can win tonight I am optimistic that we can at least qualify for the World Championship in the Czech Republic next year where I will certainly go as well.

FIBA Europe: Do you have any closer connections to players on the French team?

Grimal: I know Emmanuelle Hermouet because she is from Toulouse just like me.

FIBA Europe: How did you like her performance against Belarus in the preliminary round where she first tied the game with a last second shot to force overtime and then hit a 3-pointer to secure the win?

Grimal: She has turned into a really good player and I credit Coach Pierre Vincent a lot for it because he gave her the chance to develop on the top level. He really does a great job coaching the team and I think he is the reason for the many wins in this tournament because he takes great decisions when the game is on the line.


20.06.2009 - By Joseph Wilson
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