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Serge Betsen Rugby Tournament held in Rockville on Saturday

The French Lycée Rochambeau organized the first Sevens Yorktown Rugby Tournament at the Melvin Berman Hebrew Academy rugby field in Rockville, Md. on Saturday.

The Serge Betsen Rugby Tournament was held Saturday in Rockville.
The Serge Betsen Rugby Tournament was held Saturday in Rockville.

Serge Betsen, a former French rugby player, played for the French national rugby team for 10 years and won the French National Rugby League top competition three times. He is known as the godfather of the French Lycée Rochambeau of Bethesda, Md., and was invited as an honorary guest to this tournament. Betsen was asked to share his experience as a professional player and help the French high school team to win the tournament, while also representing his charity, The Serge Betsen Academy.

Within the past 10 years, this charity created five centers for children in need in Cameroon, the native country of Betsen. The work in these centers is based on rugby, education and health. After retiring from the rugby competition, Betsen focused his time on this project.

“I like it; I like to be involved with children through rugby,” he said. With the help of 40 volunteers working in France, the United Kingdom, United States and mainly in Cameroon, this charity provides medical facilities and education programs for children as well as rugby tuition.

The quality of the education programs is rewarded since the high school student’s final exam scores are higher than the average results in the country.
One of their achievements in 2013 was the opening of the new building in Bafia, in the center of Cameroon. This building is to be expanded this year to host 30 new students.

This year, the charity is also building a water tower to provide clean water for more than 2,500 families in Bangangte. One of their main goals is to acquire self-sufficient centers. To get there, they developed farms with goats and geese. Selling the milk and the cheese made from this animals brings money to the centers. The charity is also partners with another association in Madagascar, but their main objective for now is to focus on Cameroon.

Back on the rugby field, the charity held a stand offering t-shirts and goodies to the audience with proceeds going to Betsen’s group. The tournament was organized by Yann Chartier, professor and head rugby coach of the team at the French Lycée.

“We organized chocolate croissants sales for sales profits can go the Serge Betsen Academy”, he said. They managed to collect $1,000. The check was handed to Betsen at this end of the tournament by the organizer and by Frédérique Le Ber, head of the French Lycée. The event ended in a good atmosphere as the team of the French Lycée won the tournament. The audience was overjoyed by the venue of the French rugby star. Betsen talked to the kids, managed a practice session before the game, assisted the team coach and took pictures with the audience.

Since the tournament was a success, they hope to renew the event next year. They noticed that the U.S. is now more interested in rugby since Sevens Rugby will be part of the 2016 Olympic Games program in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. The last gold medalist of this sport during the 1924 Olympic Games was the United States.

For more information about the Serge Betsen Academy, their actions and events, visit their website:

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Serge Betsen Rugby Tournament held in Rockville on Saturday