DHARAMSALA, 1 June: The 25th edition of Gyalyum Chenmo Memorial Gold Cup (GCMGC/GCM) football tournament, the biggest sporting event in the Tibetan Community, kicked off at Upper TCV School yesterday.
Thousands of Tibetans and non-Tibetan enthusiasts of the ‘beautiful game’ attended the opening ceremony of GCMGC as the tournament returned to Dharamsala, the exile headquarters of the exiled Tibetans after 4-years to mark its silver jubilee.
A total of 23 teams from India, Nepal, United States, Canada and Europe are participating in this year’s tournament.
The teams are divided into eight pools, A-H for the league cum knockout tournament. The first seven pools consisting of three teams each will play two matches each and the last pool with two teams will play twice against each other to reach the quarter-final.
Pokhara Team from Nepal, one of the most exciting teams the tournament has seen over years is said to have withdrawn from the tournament at the last moment.
The 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 10 June.
The opening match of the tournament was played between DYSA Mundgod and Dhasa FC. The match ended with the scoreline reading 1-0 in DYSA Mundgod’s favour.
For the fourth year in the run, the live webcast of the most popular sporting event among Tibetans in exile is available online.
Central Tibetan Administration’s Health Kalon(Minister) Choekyong Wangchuk and Pema Jungney, Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile attended the opening ceremony marking the silver jubilee of the tournament as the Chief Guest and Special Guest respectively.
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 the 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.