Majlinda Kelmendi wins Kosovo's first Olympic gold medal

Laura Christensen
August 9, 2016

Now Kosovo have their first ever Olympic medal and they have Majlinda Kelmendi to thank. She edged out Mauritius' Christianne Legentil, the girl who eliminated her from the London Games, and Japan's Misato Nakamura, the 3-seed in the tournament, by virtue of having fewer shidos.

Kelmendi, 25, beat Italy's Odette Giuffrida in the final of the 52-kilo category on August 7 in Rio de Janeiro.

The authorization of Kosovo's participation by the International Olympic Committee in 2014 could cause a number of reactions that will not be in the spirit of the Olympic Truce, a tradition that the movement has sought to reanimate since 2004.

Rio is Kosovo's maiden Games, and judo star Majlinda Kelmendi claimed the historic win, beating Italy's Odette Giuffrida by yuko in the women's 52kg final.

But two months ago while training in France, Kelmendi refused to give a urine sample in an unannounced, out-of-competition test sprung by the French agency.

Kosovo only declared its independence from Serbia back in 2008, but they have already won their first Olympic gold.

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Katrin Garfoot withdrew early in proceedings as expected, given she has the individual time trial on Wednesday. I looked at that road furniture and thought, nobody can crash here and just get up.

"I'm so happy", she told reporters.

"This medal means a lot, not only for Kosovo's sport, but for all Kosovo as a country", she said after the win. "Even if we come from a small country, a poor country", she said.

The former world champion was the favorite for the event but was competing for Kosovo for the first time at an Olympic games.

Nakamura took one of the bronze medals, while Natalia Kuziutina of Russian Federation earned the other bronze. During a visit to Kosovo previous year, Bach vowed to try his best to personally present Kosovo its first medal whenever the time came. If they want to be Olympic champions, they can be.

"I have lived four years for this day, for this moment, and I felt so happy there at the podium when I saw my flag and when I heard my anthem", she said.

"Sincerely, I don't realise what's going on", said a disbelieving Basile afterwards. If they want to be Olympic champions, they can be.

Other reports by My Hot News

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