Tibetan Olympics kicks off

To participate in the Beijing Olympics, Tibetans are asked to renounce their Tibetan identity, many of them refuse to do so, therefore creating a need for the Tibetan Olympics , in which they can compete.

MCLEOD GANJ, India,(RUSHPRNEWS) 16 May 2008 — An alternative “Tibetan Olympics “, organised by Tibetan exiles in India, has begun here. The aim is to draw international attention to the situation in Tibet, which is under Chinese rule, just three months ahead of this summer’s official Games in Beijing.

The event was launched last week beneath grey skies in the peaceful Himalayan village of McLeod Ganj, or Upper Dharamshala, home of the Dalai Lama and Tibet’s government-in-exile. Twenty-three Tibetan athletes have gathered to compete in four days of archery, running, swimming, track and field events. Dressed in bold red and white tracksuits emblazoned with the familiar interlocking rings of the Olympic logo and the slogan, “One world, many dreams”, the Tibetan competitors are none of them professional athletes — but all are passionate about the spirit behind the games.

Two years of planning and one year of work for the Tibetan Olympics are coming into fruition. We are proud to present fifteen men and nine women. They have come from different parts of India. Many of them have come from Tibet in the past few years. These are all students.

We did not get as many applications from young Tibetan women as we wished and expected. When we tried to encourage them to take part, many of them said they were feeling shy to participate.

Tibetan Olympics is not being held to counter the Beijing Olympics. It is an initiative to let Tibetans join in the celebration of the spirit of the biggest international sports event.

We feel that the Beijing Olympics is an event for and of the people of China. Students, artistes, business and sports people and the public in general will make it happen, not the government of China. What we oppose is the wrong policies of the Chinese government. Their polices are dividing and suppressing people, and destroying the environment, throughout China. What has happened in Tibet in the recent past must be understood and addressed in a mutually beneficial way so that there can be peace, stability and progress in China.

The Tibetan Olympics torch has travelled to 12 different places on five continents. The torch relay has been a people’s event, with love and effort coming along wherever the torch went. The Tibetan Olympics torch was a torch of joy, unlike another torch which is one of misery. Another fact about the torches is, the Beijing Olympics torch burns for 15 minutes. The Tibetan Olympics torch burns for 30 minutes!

Funding is still the biggest challenge for the organisers. The cash prizes for the winners alone are around 8,000 USD. We do have some sponsors – Raunak Fabrics, Laughing Buddha Productions, Khanna Awards, and Trophies and Bondi Rocks Media. We sincerely thank them. Our special thanks go to Ruthie from Seattle for generously contributing 2,000 USD. She is so far the biggest donor for the Tibetan Olympics. The list of the other contributors are up on our site.

We are also thankful to all the staff and volunteers. Without their support and enthusiasm, Tibetan Olympics would not have taken the shape it has now.

The competition rounds will begin from 22 May, and the grand finale will be held on 25 May at the TCV School grounds.


ABOUT THE PARTICIPANTS

We look forward to a memorable Tibetan Olympics.

Lobsang Wangyal
Director