Kosovo, a country known for being the birthplace of people with many talents. Football players, actors, pop singers, and relentless fighting athletes. For the past week, Kosovo has been more than proud to call a few of those people Kosovars. These people are Distria Krasniqi, Akil Gjakova, Nora Gjakova, Loriana Kuka and Laura Fazliu. These 5 Judo fighters represented Kosovo at the 2021 Judo European Championships, and they have stolen the spotlight. Distria Krasniqi and Akil Gjakova made sure that the Kosovo flag would be standing above all of the other flags, each winning a gold medal. Nora Gjakova proved herself with much passion, winning the bronze medal, Loriana Kuka ranked 5th in the -78 kg category and Laura Fazliu who also ranked 5th in the -63 kg category.
During the years, Kosovo has proven itself to train good fighters in different martial arts, but in Judo, Kosovo thrives the most. At the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Majlinda Kelmendi, who is a very well-known judoka, was the first person to win a medal for Kosovo in the Olympic Games, where she won the gold medal in the women’s -52 kg category. This made it receive international attention and put Kosovo on the map for martial arts.
This year, however, In the Judo European Championships Kosovo had way better results than expected. As a very small and young country, not many were expecting to see Kosovo win 2 gold medals and a bronze. These young judoka who are full of ambition proved everyone wrong. Firstly Distria Krasniqi, who has been a judoka for many years now, caught people’s attention with the Budapest Grand Slam, where she won a gold medal, and now in the European Judo Championships, she beat the Ukrainian Bilodid Daria in -48 kg category and again won a very important gold medal while representing Kosovo.
Another gold medalist, Akil Gjakova, left people in awe when he beat the Israeli Butbul Tohar in the -73 kg category, and clench another gold medal representing Kosovo. Although winning 1st place is a wonderful achievement, winning 2nd and 3rd place is an achievement which should also be mentioned, especially in a tournament as big as the European Judo Championships is, where the competition is very challenging. Nora Gjakova was able to beat Eteri Liparteliani and secure a bronze medal in the -57 kg category.
At the end of the Judo Euros. Kosovo was ranked first in medals with 2 gold medals and 1 bronze. The citizens of the Republic of Kosovo have expressed their happiness through social media and they are amazed. Kosovo has proven that it is indeed a place with many talented people who are coming back to Kosovo with all kinds of awards and medals. We are more than grateful to these people with the hope that there will be more to come.