By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, June 9: The TNSA’s (Tibetan National Sports Association) first ever football tournament for Tibetan women began today here on the football ground of the TCV School where the organization is based.
Four teams including the Tibetan Women’s team, teams from Punjab, Dehradun and Himachal are taking part in the inaugural women’s tournament. The coordinator of the tournament Ngawang Namdol told journalists that the tournament “celebrates Women’s participation in Sports and to empower TNSA’s continued support and grooming of the girls in the making of a future Tibetan Women’s Football Team. The team truly represents the diverse spirit of Tibetan Women; our team consists of girls from all different walks of life.”
He hoped that the inaugural tournament will hopefully create a good beginning and pave the way for the future of the Tibetan women’s football.
The opening match of the tournament played between the Tibetan Women’s team and the Punjab team ushered in an auspicious precedent by scoring a goal in the first minute of the game by the team’s striker Phuntsok Choedon. The game ended 2-1 after the regulated time in favor of the Tibetan team.
The scorer of the first ever goal in the maiden tournament for women organized by TNSA, Phuntsok Choedon, a fresh graduate, told journalists, “I have always loved football and have been playing the game since I was in school right here (TCV Upper) and also when I was doing my Bachelors in college. I was extremely thrilled when the organizers called me for the tournament and I agreed since I also wanted to represent the team in the first ever tournament.”
The four day tournament will culminate on June 12 (Sunday) when the final game of the tournament will be played. The opening ceremony was attended by the Deputy Speaker of the 16th Tibetan Parliament in Exile, Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok, and other Indian and Tibetan dignitaries.
The TNSA is a registered organization under Indian laws promulgating sports in the Tibetan exile Tibetan community with its more successful foray into football. Besides organizing sporting events, emphasis is given on the grassroots development of sports in schools with its youth development project for both genders operating in 20 different Tibetan schools in India and Nepal. The yearly GCMGC football tournament continues to be its most successful venture; the only common sports tournament of the exile diasporas.