Tears and tributes for a “golden guy”, struck down in the middle of football training

With drawn features, reddened eyes, they returned, in the morning, to set foot on the lawn of the small Courrières stadium, near Lens (Pas-de-Calais), the very place where Jordan Denneulin, 31, was struck down Thursday evening in the middle of training. Frédéric, the victim’s father, his brother Lucas and his uncle Joffrey, in tears, answer the cameras’ questions, above all to pay tribute to the man they describe as a football enthusiast.

Parents of dismissed children and members of the club, where Jordan Denneulin trained the under-13s, are also there. Some place white roses on two tables placed around an easel bearing the photo of the man who leaves behind a wife, Jessica, and a 13-year-old son, Vincenzo. Two young men burst into tears near the smiling portrait of the blond thirty-year-old with three days’ beard.

Lightning struck the Gabriel-Péri stadium, as part of a “brutal and sudden stormy episode” that began on Thursday around 8 p.m., the Pas-de-Calais prefecture said in a press release. In addition to this death, a man complaining of chest pain was taken to hospital and 12 others were slightly injured (leg burn, headache, ankle trauma, etc.), according to his latest assessment.

Jordan Denneulin was most directly affected

According to the mayor of Courrières, Christophe Pilch, who spoke with the young president of the club, the players had started training, in t-shirts, taking advantage of “warm and beautiful” weather, when “the weather deteriorated at an incredible speed. “They decided to stop training” and “the last ones to reach the locker room were unfortunately struck by lightning,” says the councilor of this town of 10,000 inhabitants. “It was totally unpredictable. »

Jordan Denneulin was the most directly affected, with some other victims having been thrown to the ground by the lightning, according to the president of the Artois football district, Evelyne Bauduin. “It was sudden, unexpected,” she remembers. With the president of the Hauts-de-France Football League, she would like to ask for a minute of silence before the final of the Coupe de France on Saturday evening between Olympique Lyonnais and Paris-Saint-Germain, which is being played in Lille , about thirty kilometers from Courrières.

“A smiling, respectful, helpful guy”

Jordan Denneulin “lived football, he slept football, he ate football”, says his uncle Joffrey, who describes “someone without problems, who did not smoke, did not drink”. “We don’t understand. » A supervisor in a middle school in Lens, the eldest of a family of five boys who were also passionate about football, he was preparing as a free candidate for the competition to become a sports teacher.

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AS Courrières, which has 360 members and where it had played for almost ten years, paid tribute on Facebook to “a golden guy”, “smiling, respectful, helpful” and RC Lens fan. A club and relatives who also launched a pot to help the family to finance the young man’s funeral.

For her part, the Minister of Sports Amélie Oudéa-Castera sent on X his “condolences to the family and loved ones” of Jordan Denneulinas well as her “thoughts” of the injured player, “always between life and death”, according to her.

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