SPORTS TEAM SPIRIT: Kiwi tribute to Everest spirit – New Zealand’s Games logo honours Hillary & Tenzing – heroes unforgotten ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH
BY VIVEK CHHETRI
Darjeeling, July 13: A bee keeper from New Zealand and a porter from India had little in common when they scaled Mt Everest successfully on May 29, 1953. But their team spirit continues to inspire athletes even 57 years later.
The New Zealand Olympic Committee has decided to pay tribute to the team spirit by naming the country’s Commonwealth Games logo “29028 Hillary and Tenzing”. The Games will be held in Delhi this year. The “29028” in the logo stands for the height of Mt Everest in feet when it was conquered by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.
Hillary and Norgay had nothing much to relate to each other nor did they understand each other’s languages. Yet, as a team they overcame one of the biggest challenges of the 20th century with their passion and determination to excel against all adversaries.
The committee’s web page reads: “On the 29th of May 1953 Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first to reach the summit of Mt Everest after climbing 29028 feet of rock, snow and ice. Now, in memory of Sir Edmund and Tenzing, 29028 has become the motivation and inspiration for this year’s Commonwealth Games team competing in Delhi. Let’s get behind our team and come together to honour Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.”
The logo was created after consulting the families of Tenzing and Hillary.
“It is a great honour. To find my dad’s name in the logo has surprised me even more. Sir Edmund Hillary was a national hero for New Zealand but they decided to pay tribute to the spirit of the team and we are extremely thrilled,” said Jamling Tenzing Norgay Sherpa, Tenzing’s son and an Everester himself. “The two did little talking while climbing as my father could not speak English and Sir Edmund did not understand Nepali. But they worked as a team and it was the passion to excel that helped them overcome all odds.”
In a true team spirit, Tenzing and Hillary continued to remain friends even after their achievement. “My father visited New Zealand many times and even today the two families continue to remain great friends,” said Jamling, who stays in Darjeeling.
Tenzing passed away in 1986. Sir Edmund visited Darjeeling even while he was posted in India as the High Commissioner. He breathed his last at the ripe age of 88 in 2008.
“I have worked with Peter (Hillary) for a documentary titled Surviving Everest in 2002. We spent two months on Everest and Peter went on to climb the mountain during that expedition,” said Jamling, who had scaled the peak in 1996. In 2002, he had accompanied Peter Hillary, Sir Edmund’s son, but did not reach the peak as he had promised his wife that he would not climb the mountain again to pay respect to his father’s feat.
The New Zealand team believes that the spirit that runs through the two families to this day will help them achieve greater glory. “Our athletes strive for the qualities that made Sir Ed and Tenzing great and we’ll be asking them to draw on those characteristics in Delhi this October,” said Delhi Chef de Mission Dave Currie in a media release that was issued after the announcement of the logo at Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate in Manukau City on May 17.
The media release by New Zealand Olympic Committee secretary general Barry Maister says: “Tenzing lived most of his life in India and Sir Ed was the high commissioner to India for many years. He is thought of highly by the people of Nepal and India. With the Commonwealth Games in Delhi this year it was an ideal time to honour the two great men.”