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15th Gyalyum Chenmo Football Gold Cup - A curtain raiser

May 23, 2009

By Tenzin Monlam and Tenzin Phende
Phayul
May 21, 2009

One of the most significant sporting events of
the exile Tibetan community is back to where it
all started. The most coveted football tournament
of the diaspora Tibetan community had its ups and
downs with only 14 tournaments played so far,
despite its 28 years of inception.

It took turns from Doon Valley to the low land of
south and finally is back to foot hills of
Dhauladhar. Dharamsala has been the prominent
venue for the tournament for years. The
tournament has come back to its birthplace for
many reasons, says Kalsang Dhondup, the head of
Tibetan National Sports Association (TNSA). It is
the fifteenth edition of the tournament since it
was started with an individual initiative of an
accountant of TCV School Jowo Tsering in 1981,
ten years since TNSA has taken over the
organizing responsibilities of the tournament. So
this year’s tournament is very auspicious and
special, says Kalsang, a former physical training instructor at the TCV School.

This year, the tournament will witness the most
number of participating teams. Dhundupling FC of
Clement town, the defending champions, opted not
to defend their title as they are not playing this time.

The tournament ticket is priced at an affordable
rate of Rupees 10 for a day and Rupees 100 for
the season ticket. This is basically to encourage
more people to watch the game, as well as a
little income for the organizers to manage the tournament.

His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Urgen Thinley
Dorjee, will grace the opening ceremony with his
presence. Another attraction of this year’s
inaugural day is an exhibition match between
Kangra District police and T.C.V United. The
Kangra District Referee Association will
officiate the matches for the entire tournament.

Too many teams and too little time is what
worried the organizers. "We need to finish the
whole tournament in a span of 10 days as the
T.C.V ground will be busy once the school resumes
from its summer break,” Kalsang said. This year’s
format for the competition is knock out based
right from the start thus generating a great deal
of excitement and action for the spectators, players and the management.

According to Kalsang, the tournament is a
dedication to the great mother of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Gyalyum Chenmo.

The tournament kicks off on May 31. Phayul will
keep its viewers updated with the latest scores
and reports from the largest ever Gyalyum Chenmo tournament till date.

PARTICIPATING TEAMS
    Team name  Place
1. Dhera Dun  Dhera Dun
2. TCV United  Dharamsala
3. Varna F C  Varanasi
4. Trichy F C  Trichy (Tamil Nadu)
5. Potala F C  Mundgod
6. TSAM F C Chennai
7. Goa Tibetan Club  Goa
8. Dasa United  Dharamsala
9. TIPA  Dharamsala
10. BST Bir Suja  Bir Suja
11. Tibetan Homes Foundation School Mussoorie
12. Bir United F C  Bir
13. Tashi Jong F C  Tashi Jong
14. Kham Khartok F C  Sataun
15. Dickyiling F C  Dickyiling
16. Pune F C  Pune
17. Bylakuppe F C  Bylakuppe
18. Chauntra United  Chauntra
19. Tashi Palkhiel Youth Sports Club Pokhara

GCM Facts

*  In the name of Gyayum Chenmo (Great Mother of
His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama)
*  Started by Jowo Tsering, former chief accountant of TCV in 1981
*  28th years since its inaugural year
*  Managed to play only 14 times
*  Missed out years: 1985,87, 90-96, 98, 2000-03
*  It is the 15th edition played this year.
*  10th time under TNSA
*  Kalimpong, Dharamsala and Clement Town are the
most decorated with three wins each in their name
*  Defending champions not playing this year
*  GCM’s budget is Rupees 5 lakh

* The writers are second year BA journalism
students from Madras Christian College currently on internship at Phayul
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