New York, September 1: Around 320 Tibetan youngsters representing 16 different football teams in North America took part in the opening ceremony of the second Gyalyum Chenmo Memorial Gold Cup North America on Friday at the Randalls Island Park on Friday.
Attending as the Chief Guest for the opening ceremony was member of Tibetan Parliament in Exile, Dorjee Tseten. Representatives of various organizations and associations in New York and New Jersey were also present among guests.
As members of Cholsum Doegar performed the Tashi Sholpa dance to welcome the portrait of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the teams with their official banners paraded before the guests and spectators.
Tibetan legislator Dorjee Tseten said that it is important for the Tibetan community to excel in sports, art and various other fields, expressing hope to see players who can represent Tibet in international competitions in the future. “I believe that through events like this we will be able to have Tibetan youngsters excelling in soccer and represent us in the international arena. And it is also a part of our struggle as people who have lost their nation. So I wish the organizers and the teams all the best,” said Dorjee.
The tournament is being organized by the Tibetan National Sports Association through voluntary help from individuals who have been in active community services in New York and New Jersey in the past.
“It is really very difficult to organize a tournament of such scale in America and especially a city like New York where nobody has time. But with hard work put in by all the volunteers the tournament is here. When TNSA approached me I asked myself if this benefitted our community, and I felt it did so I agreed to coordinate,” said Tsering Palden, a member of the organizing committee.
The tournament is set for three days over the Labor Day weekend in the United States. Due to time constraints, each team gets to play two matches each instead of three as the usual norm in the group stages.
The apex sports body of the Tibetan exiles organized its first ever GCM tournament outside India in Toronto in 2016 and was participated by 12 teams from the US and Canada. Toronto Cholsum FC won the first edition by defeating New York Tibet United in penalties.
The tournament was first held in 1981 and has become the biggest sporting event of the Tibetan exile community. TNSA took over the responsibility of organizing the tournament in 2003.
The semi finals and final of the tournament will be played on the Tibetan Democracy Day on September 2 at Michael J Tully Park.