By Lobsang Tenchoe
DHARAMSALA, Apr 10: The 23rd edition of Gyalyum Chenmo Memorial Gold Cup (GCMGC/GCM) football tournament, the biggest sporting event in the Tibetan Community, kicked off at Dhondenling Tibetan settlement in Kollegal on April 8.
A total of 15 teams, 14 from across India and a lone team from France are participating in this year’s tournament. No teams from Nepal are taking part in this year’s tournament.
The teams are divided into four pools, A, B, C and D. The first three pools consisting of four teams each will play three matches each and the last pool with three teams will play two matches each to reach the quarter final. Two teams with the maximum points from each pool will qualify for the quarterfinal of the league cum knockout tournament and the final match will be played on April 19. For the second year in the run, the live webcast of the tournament is made available on line.
The GCM Gold Cup tournament is played annually in the memory of the great mother of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. GCM football tournament was first held in 1981.
Though the tournament was organized by various bodies for more than twenty years, Tibetan National Sports Association (TNSA) took charge of organizing the tournament annually since 2003. Based on performance in the GCM tournament, TNSA selects players for the Tibetan National Team which occasionally competes in tournaments held in India as well as foreign countries.