DHARAMSALA, June 1: Thousands of Tibetans and non-Tibetan enthusiasts of the ‘beautiful game’ gathered at Upper TCV School on May 30 for the opening ceremony of Gyalyum Chenmo Memorial Gold Cup (GCMGC/GCM) football tournament, the most popular sporting event among Tibetans in exile.
Following a proud rendition of the Tibetan national anthem, March past by the participating teams, performance of a theme song by school children and brief introductory speeches by Mr Penpa Tsering, Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile and Mr Kalsang Dhondup, Chairman of Tibetan National Sports Association, two exciting matches were played on the opening day.
The first match was won by last year’s winner, Pokhara Tashiling who played against RTYC Chandigarh with the score line reading 1-0 in Pokhara’s favour. The second match between New York and Bir United ended in a draw with the score line reading 2-2.
The 28 teams will play two matches each to reach the quarter finals and the final match will be played on Jun 10, where the elected political leader of the Tibetan people, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay will be the Chief Guest.
GCM football tournament was first held in 1981 in memory of the late mother of the Tibetan spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
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.