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The Other Olympics
Al Jazeera[Tuesday, August 19, 2008 01:44]
Filmmaker: Nayantara Kotian

Participants must compete in all ten events at the Tibetan Olympics
Participants must compete in all ten events at the Tibetan Olympics
The Olympics are seen as an internationally celebrated event where people from all the countries in the world come and compete on an array of events. Unfortunately, in terms of the Beijing Olympics, this is not the case.

If you are Tibetan, the only way you can compete in the Beijing Olympics is by renouncing your Tibetan identity and registering as a Chinese athlete. Many Tibetan sportsmen in exile refuse, seeing this as another way in which China suppresses Tibetan identity.

Dorji Tsering, a talented Tibetan sportsman exiled in India would ordinarily be looking ahead to Beijing Olympics, but he refuses to sell his nationality in return for a place on the Olympic stage.

Instead, he took part in the 'Tibetan Olympics' - a ten-day event organised as an alternative Olympics by the Tibetans, a defiant gesture to mighty China.


Tibet's own version of the Olympic games is held in the foothills of the Himalayas in northern India, where the Dalai Lama and Tibetan government-in-exile reside.

It is an event consisting of ten different sporting disciplines ranging from track events, high jump, archery and swimming. All the competitors are Tibetan – and all are amateurs.

They must take part in all ten events – even though in some cases, they have never done these sports before. Through the innocence and exuberance of sport, the film highlights the underlying issues of Tibet today.

Nayantara Kotian's film follow two participants – Dorji and Yangchen – as they prepare for, and then participate in the competition that for them represent the hope and despair of their native Tibet.

Other Olympics can be seen on Tuesday, August 18 at 1000 and 1900; Wednesday, August 19 at 0600 and 1400; Thursday August 20 at 0300.
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