Tibetans to have their own Olympics
By R.K. Prashar | Indo-Asian News Service
DHARAMSHALA, India, 15 May 2007 In a unique endeavour to attract the attention of the world community, the Tibetans in exile in Dharamsala will be organising their maiden Olympics from May 15-25 next year. The Tibetan Olympics will be a sporting event for Tibetans in exile in Dharamsala, the headquarters of the Tibetans in diaspora. Interestingly the tournament will also coincide with the Olympics in China.
Lobsang Wangyal, of "Miss Tibet" beauty pageant fame, while addressing a press conference in Dharamsala said that there would be two championships — men's and women's — each competing in long-distance running, swimming, shooting, archery, and track and field.
The age limit for participants in the men's category will be between 15-30 years and for women, 15-25 years.
Applicants from the community in exile should have proof of tax payment to the Tibetan government-in-exile. The requirement will not apply to Tibetans applying from Tibet.
"There will be other requirements, such as fitness certificate, proof of doing sports in schools and colleges, etc," Lobsang said.
Each championship will have a maximum of 15 participants.
The winners in both the categories will win Rs 1,00,000 while the first runners-up will win Rs.50,000 each and the second runners-up will win Rs.25,000.
There will be one-week warm-up and training session.
The participants will be provided with food and accommodation for the entire training and competition days, but the travelling expenses will be borne by the participants.
Though the "Miss Tibet" beauty pageant remained in the maelstrom of controversy in the Tibetan circles, the brainchild behind the new event still sound equally undaunted and undeterred by any such criticism.
The International Tibet Support Network announced the formation of a Tibetan Team for the 2008 Olympics and called for the support of the world to give Tibet a strong presence in Beijing.
Initial members of Team Tibet are from the exiled Tibetan National Sports Association, based in Dharamsala. Other Tibetan athletes will join Team Tibet in the coming weeks, and Tibet Groups intend to apply to the International Olympic Committee for permission to allow the team to compete in Beijing in 2008.
Other activities of the Tibet Olympics Campaign will include a wide range of public awareness measures that will be carried out under the slogan "Bring Tibet to the 2008 Games".
"China will try and use Tibet and Tibetan culture to portray the image of a united China during the Beijing 2008 Games," said Lobsang.
Members of the International Tibet Support Network also feel a strong moral obligation to inform the public about the real situation in Tibet and to expose China's Olympics propaganda plan.