An unforgettable event that started off with exhilaration and excitement ended with more energy and stronger bond between all those involved throughout the three-day ‘Martyrs Memorial Cup’ football tournament from Sept 1-3.
The Regional Tibetan Youth Congress Minnesota organised the first ever ‘Martyrs Memorial Cup North America Tibetan Soccer Tournament’ to honor those who have sacrificed their lives for our nation’s freedom and bring together Tibetan communities from different parts of North America through sports.
The opening ceremony of the Tournament paid tribute to the brave Tibetan martyrs who have sacrificed their lives for the cause of Tibet. Chief Guest Dorjee Gyalpo who was part of an indefinite hunger strike at New York earlier this year gave the keynote speech at the opening ceremony. Tibetan Pop artist Phurbu T. Namgyal also performed during the event.
The tournament consisted of six teams; Chicago (Nomads), California (Lungta FC), Madison (Yaks) and three from Minnesota – MN United, Tsam FC and FC Rangzen.
Following the first day of pool matches, the second day of the Tournament saw thrilling matches with a semifinal showdown between FC Rangzen (MN) and Madison Yaks, carrying on with their one all draw in the previous game. FC Rangzen eventually triumphed over Madison with a 2-0 scorecard. The second semifinal between MN United and Chicago Nomads went down to the wire to a penalty shootout with Chicago squeezing a 5-4 win.
RTYC-MN also put together TSEN-ZOM (A celebration of Tibetan Spirit) event at Tibetan Community Center that included talent shows, open mic, and a fashion show. A wonderful drama was also performed in memory of Tibetan martyrs.
Before the finals of the Tournament between Chicago and Minnesota, a Fathers Friendly soccer game was played. The match saw spectacular goals, many a tumble, and exhausted players as the kids cheered for their fathers.
Facing off in the finals, FC Rangzen scored first with a speedy run from the corner. Chicago tried hard but failed to find the back of the net. FC Rangzen went on to score two more goals to emerge champions of the first Martyrs Memorial Cup.
All teams displayed wonderful teamwork throughout the tournament.
As the tournament ended and people drove home, the message of the tournament was stronger than when it had started - to stand united with Tibetans inside Tibet for freedom and justice for Tibet. Based on a report submitted by Tenzin Choendhen Waleag