By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, April 27: The premier football tournament of the exile Tibetan diaspora has been postponed until further notice due to the deteriorating Covid-19 situation, the apex sports body Tibetan National Sports Association (TNSA) announced Tuesday.
“Due to the rapid increase in cases of Covid-19, TNSA executive members have unanimously decided to cancel the tournament until further notice.
“We believe that the health of the community should be our first priority and with the cases worsening in India, we cannot risk the lives of out people. We request everybody to stay safe and we can get through this together,” TNSA’s Executive Director Tenzin Rinchen said in a statement.
The tournament scheduled to be held mid-May at Clement town, Dehradun stands postponed despite earnest preparations that began months ago. “We appreciate the settlement for all the arrangements made which includes a grassy football ground and floodlights for the first time in Tibetan history,” the TNSA director wrote.
The development comes as a setback for many teams that congregate from different parts of the country to participate in the tournament. The manager of Dhasa Football Club Kalsang Tsering told Phayul, “With the pandemic that has been going on for the past year, anticipating a setback like this comes by default but having said that, we have not deviated when it comes to putting on a solid training camp since March. All we can do is stay prepared and wait for now.”
Dhasa Football Club is among 16 other teams that are vying for the 26th GCMGC tournament.
Last month, TNSA’s much anticipated participation in the 2021 CONIFA Women’s Cup in Romania was also cancelled over COVID-19 concerns.