Tibetan girl pursues football dream in NW China

LANZHOU, China, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) — Donning a No. 10 football shirt, Wangdu Tso floats around on the pitch, dribbling the ball and looking for the perfect pass. It’s already deep winter, the temperature often drops to minus 10 degrees, however the girl shows no fear of the cold, only a passion for football.

Wangdu Tso is a senior student at the Tibetan Middle School of Luqu County, Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in northwest China’s Gansu Province. Located on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, Luqu sits at an average altitude of 3,200 meters above sea level.

Wangdu Tso serves as the captain of the girls’ football team. Tanned from hours in the sun, she and her teammates train day and night despite the harsh climate.

“To me, football has the magic that enchants me and spices up my life,” says Wangdu Tso, who was introduced to football by her older brother.

As a kid, she and her brother collected tin cans to use as footballs and heaped up rocks as goalposts. Kicking the can in the dirt yard was the happiest time of her day.

When she was in primary school, Wangdu Tso finally had the chance to play with a real football during the PE class, and she got hooked on the sport instantly.

“At that time, football was deemed a boy’s game,” she said.

Yet, every day after school, she would borrow a football from her PE teacher and practise basic skills alone.

Things changed when she went to the Tibetan Middle School, where she had the chance to play football with other girls, and even became the team leader.

“In the past, the sport was only for boys. But when there was a football game, many girls would also be attracted to the pitch and watch the game,” said Kunchok Tsheten, headmaster of the school.

To give those girls a chance, the school founded a girls’ football team in 2015.

When Wangdu Tso attended the middle school, she joined in the school’s football team instantly. She never wastes an opportunity to get out on the pitch and play with her teammates.

“Wangdu Tso is the core of our team. She plays football very well, and also studies hard. Football brings us together as friends,” said Tashi Kyi, a teammate and also friend of Wangdu Tso.

According to Kunchok Tsheten, the school organizes football games every week and provides professional guidance to the football team. Over the past five years, this girls’ team has won several campus football competitions in Gannan.

“Football brings happiness and energy to the girls, and they show their radiance on the pitch,” said Kunchok Tsheten.

“I enjoy running on the pitch and feel endless strength. Hopefully I can be admitted to my dream university and keep pursuing my football dream in the future,” said Wangdu Tso.

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