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29th GCM Gold Cup kicks off in South India’s Hunsur Rabgyaling

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The coveted GCM gold cup (Photo/GCM official Facebook)

By Tsering Dhundup

DHARAMSHALA, May 15: The 29th Gyalyum Chenmo Memorial Gold Cup (GCMGC) football tournament, the premier sports event of the Tibetan exile community, kicked off on Wednesday, in Hunsur Rabgyaling Tibetan settlement in Southern India. The tournament honours the late mother of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and is set to go on for 14 days, concluding on May 28.

This year’s tournament features a diverse line-up of 16 teams hailing from Tibetan settlements across India, as well as international teams from Australia and Nepal. Among the notable participants are Dhasa FC, the defending champions and Dhondupling FC, the most decorated team in the tournament’s history, along with strong contenders Shimla FC, DYSA Mundgod, and TDL Sports Club Bylakuppe.

Host team Hunsur Rabgyaling, along with Odhisa Phuntsokling, Goa Tibetan FC, Sonamling FC Ladakh, Gulladhalla FC Bylakuppe, Chomphelling FC Miao, Poanta Cholsum FC, Dhondenling FC Kollegal, and a school team from TCV are also competing for the prestigious gold cup.

The teams are divided into four groups, with each group consisting of four teams. They will play league matches within their groups, with the top two teams from each group advancing to the knockout stages until the final. A total of 31 matches will be played over 14 days until a winner is crowned. 

This year’s tournament marks the return of South Indian teams, such as Dhondenling FC Kollegal, TDL Sports Club Bylakuppe, Gulladhalla FC Bylakuppe, and Hunsur Rabgyaling FC, after a three-year absence. The absence of teams from South India in the past three GCMGC tournaments was due to TNSA’s decision to limit participation from Tibetan settlements in South India to three teams, down from five. This issue was resolved during a meeting between representatives of the South teams and TNSA.

The excitement surrounding the GCMGC is palpable as thousands of people attended the event, with matches being broadcast live on Tibet TV’s YouTube channel, ensuring that the global Tibetan community can join in the celebration and support their favourite teams.

The opening match between Hunsur Rabgayling and Odisha Phuntsokling ended in a win for the host team with a 2-0 scoreline.

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