The inaugural 'Climate Cup 2023' football tournament, India's first-ever professional football event in Ladakh, commenced on 1st September at the Open Astroturf Stadium in Spituk, Leh. Held at an altitude of 11,000 feet, this seven-day sporting extravaganza, taking place from September 1st to 7th, 2023, emphasizes environmental consciousness and sustainable practices.
Organized by the Ladakh Football Association and powered by Powergrid, the 'Climate Cup 2023' aims to provide a platform for both local and national teams to showcase their football skills while fostering a profound sense of responsibility towards the environment. To achieve this, the tournament is implementing stringent sustainability measures, such as zero polythene usage and minimal waste policies.
One of the tournament's notable initiatives is the use of environmentally conscious kits crafted from recycled materials. These kits symbolize a dedication to promoting responsible tourism and sustainable production practices, sending a powerful message about the impact of climate change on Ladakh's ecologically fragile environment.
The participating teams include Delhi Football Club, Tibetan National Football Association, Ladakh Professional Football Club, and Ladakh State Team. The tournament is taking place in Ladakh's newly constructed Open Astroturf Stadium at Spituk, Leh, which boasts artificial grass capable of withstanding extreme weather conditions and has a seating capacity for 30,000 spectators, making it one of the highest stadiums in the world.
In addition to the football matches, 'Climate Cup 2023' is hosting a women's exhibition football match as part of its commitment to promoting gender equality in sports.
Speaking about the tournament, Chairman/CEC of LAHDC Leh, Tashi Gyalson, expressed that the event's primary objectives are to raise awareness about climate change's impact on Ladakh's delicate environment and to nurture football talent in the region.
Secretary Sports of UT Ladakh, Ravinder Kumar, highlighted the event's significance in demonstrating Ladakh's dedication to sustainable practices and combatting the effects of climate change while working toward carbon-neutral goals.
The 'Climate Cup 2023' has already witnessed exciting opening matches, with Delhi defeating Tibet 4-2 and 1 Ladakh FC securing a 2-1 victory over UT Ladakh. The top two teams from the championship will compete in the final match scheduled for September 7th.
The event has garnered widespread attention, with President of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), Kalyan Chaubey, and renowned Indian soccer legend Baichung Bhutia set to attend the closing ceremony, underscoring the tournament's significance in India's football landscape.
This football tournament in Ladakh serves as a powerful reminder of the fragility of our environment and the need to promote sports in an environmentally sustainable and responsible manner. It not only seeks to entertain but also to educate and inspire individuals to protect our unique natural blessings that are currently on the brink of collapse.
Edited and collated by Team TRC