In 2011, a bunch of mates close to Montpellier, France got together to form Kamiqudz Roller Derby; they’ve been steadily building ever since, but the last four years have seen a real increase in membership, ultimately leading to their first-ever champs qualification.
Boasting three universities, Montpellier is traditionally a student city, which in itself can pose problems where retention is concerned. Having said this, it doesn’t seem to have impacted the team’s overall performance – they are currently ranked an impressive #11 in the table!
Many members travel more than an hour to their Sunday night training session, which can either be held on the wooden floor of the county gymnasium or outside on the basketball court when weather permits.
The bulk of the 2019 season saw a range of results for the squad; a couple of crushing defeats at the hands of fellow French team Toulouse has been offset by victories against Manneken, Orcet and Calais. They also finished third place in the French Cup.
But it was at the MRDA European Qualifiers where the Kamiquadz really stepped up their game, securing win after win against some of the regions top teams. Still, they remain humble in their victory, now focusing their energy on the upcoming tournament.
First up, they’re set to play California’s Golden State Heat, but Buck la Baston tells MRDA that they’re excited to play any North American team and their players who they’ve been looking up to for several years; he describes the feeling as being ‘Like kids willing to enjoy a trip and unexpected tournament!’
Missing from the squad will be captain, Jason Kruger, who is back in France awaiting a very important delivery – from everyone at MRDA, we wish you all the best!
MEET THE TEAM…
Name: Colonel Poulard (Poupoul)
Position: Blocker, Pivot, Jammer #4
How did you get involved in roller derby?
At first, a little by accident when a group of women started a team in our roller skating club. Then by passion, both for a terribly brilliant sporting discipline, and its strong values that carry us and make us grow.
Have you played any other sports?
I’ve been practising a lot of sports since I was a kid, especially outdoors. To name only the sports that I have played in competition: fencing, sailing, rugby, mountain biking, and savate (French boxing). Roller derby is very important to me because it is a collective and self-managed sport: you are the actor of your practice, of your success (or failure).
What do you think your coach would say about you?
He sometimes has a grouchy character but you can rely on him and his frankness of speech.
How does being an athlete inspire you to do good?
It makes me always encourage people to surpass themselves, to put failures into perspective, to become aware of their qualities and to believe in their dreams.
What is your ultimate Roller Derby goal?
Participating in these championships was a dream just a few months ago. The hazards of the calendar of life did not allow me to join the French team group and have an opportunity of wearing the blue tunic. It’ll probably be a regret.
What is your pre-game ritual?
Sophrology. Breathing helps me a lot to relax and visualize the coming game.
Who is your sporting hero and why?
Jeannie Longo. One of the most gigantic achievements of French and world sport, built in the shadow of men’s sport and the media. What an abnegation throughout these years!
What is your go-to Karaoke song?
“Les rois du monde” from the french musical Romeo and Juliet.