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Lighting up the Hangzhou Asian Games

By CHEN XUE| China Daily| Updated: August 9, 2023 L M S


Tsering Palzom is among the group of 19 torchbearers at the torch lighting ceremony of the Hangzhou Asian Games at Liangzhu Archaeological Ruins on June 15. CHINA DAILY

In 1990, when the 11th Asian Games was going to be held in Beijing — the first time a Chinese city hosted the event — the flame was lit at the foot of the Nyainqentanglha mountain in Tibet by a 15-year-old Tibetan girl named Dawa Yangzom.

Now, 33 years later, when the 19th Asian Games is soon to kick off in September in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, there is also a Tibetan girl: Tsering Palzom, who was among the group of 19 torchbearers — "19" to commemorate the 19th Asian Games, which is the third time the event will be held in China.

"It might just be my speculation, but I do think that being a Tibetan girl was one of the reasons that I was selected to be part of the group — to pay tribute to Dawa Yangzom," said 19-year-old Tsering, a student majoring in broadcasting and hosting at Communication University of Zhejiang (CUZ) in Hangzhou.

Tsering, from Dechen county of Dechen Tibet autonomous prefecture in Southwest China's Yunnan province, first saw the recruitment information about the torchbearers in April. She had no idea whether she was going to make it through the various selection rounds, but "just to be part of it" was her initial motivation. To her, it is a once-in-a-life-time opportunity as she is studying in the city where the Asian Games will be held.

"Of course, I would try my best, but I knew that even if I failed, I would still get to meet many outstanding people with the same goal as me," she said. "And going through the selection rounds with them was already a learning process."

Eventually, Tsering became one of 11 students from her university to make the final selection list. On June 15, at the start of the 100-day countdown to the Hangzhou Asian Games, together with eight other girls from eight other universities in the province — including Zhejiang Normal University and Zhejiang University of Technology — Tsering performed the torch lighting ceremony at Hangzhou's Liangzhu Archaeological Ruins.

And Tsering isn't the only one in the group who is from an ethnic minority. There is also a Uyghur girl from Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region, who is studying at Zhejiang University, and a girl from the Yi ethnic minority from Sichuan province, who also goes to CUZ.

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