President Vjosa OSMANI, Prime Minister Albin KURTI and Sports Minister Hajrulla CEKU – they all came to PRISTINA (KOS) for the European Open Championships. “The fact that judo is the number one sport in the Republic of Kosovo doesn’t need to be explained to any spectators or foreign guests today. That goes without saying. Such a gathering of political celebrities is remarkable,” concluded EJU Senior Vice President Otto KNEITINGER after the end of the competition. Meanwhile, the hall, filled to capacity with almost 3,000 spectators, celebrated Open winner Akil GJAKOVA (-73) and the three bronze medallists Nora GJAKOVA, Distria KRASNIQI (both -57) and junior Dardan CENA (-73). “The organisation of the judo competition premiere in Kosovo was top, the atmosphere unbeatable and the prize money of 300,000 euros extraordinary. I can promise you – in coordination with EJU President László TOTH: WE WILL BE BACK NEXT YEAR!”
The “Kosovo Judo Nation” programme allows the national judo federation to draw on its full resources. More than 12 million euros are being channelled into the sport. A national training centre was built in Peja in the west of the country in 2021, with a sports hall and corresponding infrastructure with hotels to follow next year. What really took off in 2013 with Majlinda KELMENDI’s World Championship title and culminated in three Olympic victories (2016: Majlinda Kelmendi/-52, 2021: Nora Gjakova/-57, Distria Krasniqi/-48) has long since become an institution. “We love Judo,” say President Vjosa Osmani and Prime Minister Albin Kurti. “We enjoy having the international world class as our guests.”
Otto Kneitinger’s satisfaction was also written all over his face: “The new format, the new organiser – the European Open Championships in Pristina were a complete success on all fronts!” Judo Federation President Agron KUKA was more than happy: “Today is a perfect day for Judo Kosovo. We are a Judo nation, we have proven that with four medals in front of our home crowd. We didn’t expect this huge success.”
There is no question: WE WILL SEE YOU AGAIN NEXT YEAR!
Author: EJU Media