The four statements were made by four Tibetans on behalf of Team Tibet, now numbering more than 30 athletes who live as refugee in all parts of the world.
ROAD CYCLING, Male 25
I grew up in the Pestalozzidorf in Trogen AR together with people from different countries and cultures. Being a child it was possible to play with children from so many different nations. Becoming adult, I had to realize that even on huge world-events such as the Olympic Games there are peoples who are excluded. We, the Tibetans, are one of them. I want to change this. This is my motivation to join the Team Tibet. In a refreshing, positive and sporty manner we draw the attention towards Tibet without pointing the finger at someone as usual.
Tsultrim Dolma Gope
SHOT PUT, Female 25
I have such nice memories of the Olympic Games for Youth in Denmark. It was a fantastic feeling to enter the stadium together with all the other athletes. I was proud to represent Switzerland as a shot-putter. Nevertheless, secretly I was dreaming about how wonderful it would be to enter the stadium under the Tibetan flag - with a Tibetan team. Even though I feel very well here in Switzerland, I was born here, I grew up here and I live here, Tibet is my country as well.
Soccer, Male 29
Tashi delek to you all. My name is Chomphel Gelek,I am here today as the coordinator of Team Tibet in Italy. I am highly inspired and moved by the spirit of the Team Tibet. That is the reason why I joined Team Tibet as a football player.
I was a fan of Roberto Baggio, for me the greatest Italian football player, when I was a small boy.
I was brought up in a Tibetan children village in North India. We used to play soccer a lot. Often under the torrential rains, on a muddy playground with hundreds of other schoolmates with tens of goal posts in a single playground and at times you could see also cows and dogs passing across the playground. Yet, the matches were never interrupted. There is immense passion in the hearts of the young Tibetans for the sports. We all wanted to be like Baggio.
With years passing by I realized the painful reality of being a Tibetan refugee. A reality that caused pain, pain of reaching no where, pain of no future, pain of being denied the dream of a carreer in the field of sports. Today, I also came to talk about this pain, and make the voices heard that were silenced by desperation. This is for me also a way to express the wishes of many Tibetans and to pave the way for young Tibetans for a better future.
I am very much inspired by the speech of the President of the European Parliament and the sincere concern he showed for the Tibetan cause. With your support and our forces united, I firmly believe we will bring TEAM TIBET to 2008 olympics in Beijing.
Dominik Kelsang Erne
SINGLE TABLE TENNIS, Male 26
My name is Dominik Kelsang Erne and I am half Swiss and half Tibetan. I did not have frequent contacts with Tibetans when I was a child. It was during a trip to Dharamsala (India) when I felt an urgent need to learn more about my eastern roots.
Back to Switzerland I got in contact with other Tibetans and joined the Tibetan Youth Association in Europe. I will represent Team Tibet in Table Tennis. I have been practising this sport for 16 years and became Vice- Champion of Switzerland (Single U13 and Team U15) and Swiss Champion (Team U18). Thanks to regular training camps and sessions with the Swiss national team members and professional trainers I am aware of the important factors regarding appropriate training methods. With the experiences I gathered, I hope being able to support the team in the best possible way.
For me, the aim of being represented at the Olympic Games in Beijing is to make the public aware that we still exist and it would be our dream to attend the games. It’s also in your hands; please support us to make our dream true.
Thank you very much.