By Lobsang Wangyal
McLEOD GANJ, India, 31 May 2019
The biggest Tibetan sporting event, the annual Gyalyum Chenmo Memorial Gold Cup Football Tournament, got under way today with 23 teams participating. This year is its 25th anniversary.
A few thousand Tibetans living in and around Dharamshala gathered at the Tibetan Children’s Village School near McLeod Ganj for the opening match between the Dhasa and Mundgod teams.
Twenty-three teams, including one from the US, are taking part in the ten-day event. The finals will be played on the 10th of June.
The match got started in the afternoon under clear and sunny skies. Two halves of 35 minutes each were played in which Mundgod’s Tsering Dhondup, popularly known as Affi, scored the only goal of the game making Mundgod edge out Dhasa.
Affi played late in the second half. Without losing any time to a pass from the right to him, Affi snapped a powerful shot with his left foot, kicking a goal to put Mundgod ahead with ten minutes remaining for the final whistle.
Dhasa missed some great chances in both the halves, disappointing their cheering fans on their home ground. Dhasa will have one more chance to prove their skills. They have to win that game to remain in the tournament.
Organised by Tibetan National Sports Association, the tournament was started in 1981 in memory of the Dalai Lama’s mother.
While the men’s team gets all the attention, a women’s team was also started a few years ago. So far only school girls play in that team.