The largest and oldest Tibetan Basketball Tournament organised by the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress Dhasa resumed after two years of Covid Chaos.
The Tournament begins in the mid of September every year, and the final match is often scheduled on the 7th of October, on the founding day of the Tibetan Youth Congress, the largest Non-governmental organisations of Tibetan Community in Exile.
This year, there were 8 boys’ teams and 2 girls’ teams that were participating in the tournament. Team Drokpa ( Nomad Team) and Team Mentsekhang, the teams dominating the Tournament in the past years have not taken part this year.
The 20th Martyrs’ Memorial Basketball Tournament was scheduled to kick off on 25th September 2022, but was delayed by a day due to the heavy rainfall in Dharamshala.
The Tournament attracts people of all ages from the hill station which is popularly known as the little Lhasa. You will see students in their uniforms rushed to the venue to witness their much-awaited matches. It is also common to see monks and nuns in their red robes running from their retreat centres to the tournament site to see the skills of the young men and women who are taking part in the Tournament.
This Tournament aims to create awareness among the younger generations about the Tibetan Martyrs who sacrificed their precious life for the cause of Tibet. It also hopes to promote much-needed health awareness among Tibetans.
The Tournament started after 10th March 1998. Tibetan Youth Congress organized a Hunger Strike unto death at Jantar Mantar New Delhi as per the resolution adopted during the 27th and 28th Working Committee Meeting held in Mussoorie and Orissa. The hunger strike coincided with the 39th Tibetan National Uprising Day and was intended to draw global attention, thereby compelling the United Nations to implement the International Council of Jurists (ICJ’s) recommendations on Tibet. There were six hunger strikers representing the six million Tibetans. On the 48th day of the hunger strike, the remaining three hunger strikers were forcefully dragged by the Indian police. Thupten Ngodup, who had volunteered to be in the second batch of hunger strikers ran to the public toilet where he had hidden a jar of petrol, poured it onto his body, and set himself ablaze for the cause of Tibet. His self-immolation drew the attention of the media all around the world. He suffered 90 percent burns and was declared dead two days later on 29th April 1998.
In memory of the late Pawo Thupten Ngodup and thousands of other Tibetan martyrs, the day has since been marked as Tibetan Martyrs Day by the TYC, and Regional Tibetan Youth Congress started the tournament two years later in memory of the Tibetan Martyrs.