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16 May 2023

tibetan community come together at eagle stadium

Members of the Tibetan community from across Australia gathered at Eagle Stadium in Melbourne’s west over the four-day Easter weekend to celebrate their culture and play the basketball event that forms part of the annual Tibetan Unity Cup.

The sports tournament, known as the Tibetan Unity (Chigdril) Games, is in its 11th year and is recognised as the premier sporting event for Tibetan young people in Australia and a prime example of the unifying power of sport.

The 2023 Unity Cup has been dedicated to women’s empowerment and includes basketball and football (held at The Grange Community Centre) together with a range of community activities aimed at creating moments of joy and togetherness for a community that has been impacted by experiences of dislocation and exile.

Between 200 and 300 young Tibetans aged from 16 to 35 from NSW, Queensland, Victoria and ACT participated in the 2023 Unity Cup competitions at Eagle Stadium each day, with that crowd boosted by many spectators from the Victorian Tibetan community.

WynActive Stadium Programs Officer, Paul Lacchiana, provided support for the event and noted that the event’s theme of empowering women in sport, came through well throughout the successful tournament.

He commented “there was a lot happening and a strong sense of community across the event with the efforts and participation of women honoured throughout.

“It was a successful and happy community event centred on the Tibetan culture and its history.”

Lacchiana worked in conjunction with Tibetan community organisers including Sonam Choeden and Tamdin Tsering who donated money set aside for volunteering back to the community to funding to run the event in 2024. Teams that received cash as prizes also donated these winnings to next year’s effort with the event fully funded from donations and sponsorship.

Among other highlights of this year’s event was the participation of the Tibetan Community of Australia’s Football Team before it leaves for India to participate in the prestigious Gyalyum Chenmo Memorial Gold Cup.

The tournament provides an opportunity for young Tibetans to come together to play sport, build self-esteem and social networks and is recognised as the premier Tibetan sporting event in Australia.

Images: Tibetan Unity Cup basketball winners celebrate (top), the WynActive managed Eagle Stadium (middle) and 2023 Tibetan Cup event organiser Sonam Choeden (below).