Tibetans plan parallel Olympics

By Gaurav Bisht | Hindustan Times

Gandhi 'the torchbearer'

"Gandhigiri" seems to have caught on with the organisers. The Tibetan Olympics torch would be carried from the Raj Ghat in Delhi to Mcleod Ganj and lit on 30 January, on the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Tibetan, Indian and international runners would carry this torch in a relay, covering 25 kilometres each and over 600 kms altogether, before passing it on.

A group of Tibetan youth proposes to hold parallel Tibetan Olympics during the 2008 main international event in Beijing to allow the exiles to express their love for sport and draw international attentions towards their struggle.

Tibetan showman Lobsang Wangyal, who entered limelight six years ago by organising, the first and "controversial" Miss Tibet pageant, is firm on holding the mega Tibetan Olympics to coincide with the world event in China a year from now.

The organisers have also designed a logo — a Tibetan man and a woman with the five Olympic rings — for the games. "We have adopted the five-ring symbol of the international Olympics in the logo for the Tibetan Olympics to cherish the spirit of this world event," says Lobsang Wangyal, Director of Lobsang Wangyal Productions.

Countering the Beijing Olympics slogan of "One World, One Dream", Wangyal has put the motto for his games as "One World, Many Dreams". "The Beijing Olympics slogan smacked of communism, so I tweaked it to show that everyone has their own dreams," says Wangyal, who has five friends working with him to hold the show at the headquartes of the Tibetan government-in-exile.

The organisers say the sporting event would provide Tibetans with a chance to be a part of the international sport. "Tibetans have been deprived of participating in the biggest sporting event, but we plan to stay connected," quipped Wangyal.

Over one lakh (100,000) Tibetans live in exile in different parts of the world since the Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama, fled his homeland in 1959 after Chinese invasion.

The Tibetan Olympics would be held from 15 to 25 May in Dharamshala. The championship is for both male and female athletes. Each category will have 15 participants in the age groups of 15-30 and 15-25, respectively.

The participants will compete in 10 disciplines, including long-distance running, swimming, shooting, archery, and track and field events.

The gold-medal winners will take home Rs. 100,000 each, the silver-medal winners will each have Rs. 50,000. The bronze-medal winners will be presented with Rs. 25,000 each.