Rain and detentions early in the morning played a dampener in Friday’s Colonial Olympic Games, a protest against the Olympic Games in Beijing organised by the Youth Liberation Front of Tibet, Eastern Turkistan, Manchuria & Inner Mongolia (YLFTM).
Around 4 am on Friday, police detained the event’s chief guest, Rabia Kadee, and twelve others, according to organiser Narender Chowdhary.
DCP (Southwest) Shalini Singh said no one was arrested.
Security was tight and the police outnumbered the athletes at one point. The men seemed preoccupied with warming up for their events.
A young man wearing a jersey printed with “Tibet” sparred with another wearing an Inner Mongolia jersey, before a wrestling match.
Five and a half hours before the opening ceremony in Beijing, Chowdhary, the YLFTM chairman and a Delhi University student declared the Colonial Olympic Games open at Lochab Farm House in Bijwasan, west of Delhi.
His voice started to waiver and crack after several minutes of shouting and protesting against Chinese territorial holdings in Tibet, Eastern Turkistan in Xinjiang, Manchuria and Inner Mongolia.
While most protesters were Indians, they wore jerseys with names of one of these four regions. The group’s list of complaints against China includes deforestation, human rights violations and nuclear waste dumping.
“By this policy, they occupy the whole of Tibet, Eastern Turkistan, Inner Mongolia and Manchuria,” he later said.
Chowdhary went further, asking if Uyghar separatists were at fault for Monday’s bombing of police barracks in Kashgar. “They say it is terrorists, but there is no evidence,” he said.
The day’s rain forced organisers to cut down to just two events — a 200-metre race and a wrestling meet.
As rain lashed, mud-covered athletes shook hands, posed for pictures, and then grappled with one another.
Pramod and Jabis Singh each won a round for Manchuria; Sumir Khatri representing Tibet and Dinesh from E. Turkistan won the other two sets.
The runners then lined up at the far side of Lochab’s field and ran multiple lengths to complete the 200 metres.
While about 10 athletes started, only a handful finished. Ravinder won the race for Inner Mongolia.
Any pre-dawn tensions between the police and the protestors had faded by the end of the events, as police sat in chairs or stood casually against walls to watch the races.
“They are there just to maintain peace, that nothing goes wrong,” said Ashok Rana, a handball player who served as the event’s chief guest in the wake of Kardee’s absence.