Historic

It’s as simple as that. There is no other word to describe what judoka Majlinda Kelmendi achieved tonight. She won gold in the -52kg class. The first ever Olympic medal for Kosovo, who are taking part in their first ever Olympic Games. Kelmendi was a favourite before the Games, having won the world championship in Rio de Janeiro(!) in 2013, before succesfully defending her title the next year. The pressure on her was enormous, but she delivered.

Both the semi-final and the final itself weren’t really good fights, objectively speaking, but her victories were well-deserved. The gold medal was presented by no other than Thomas Bach who had actually promised the Kosovarian team to hand out the medals in person should they win any medal.

What could this mean for Kosovo? We’ll have to wait and see. It may be more important to the entire country than any other medal during these Games will be to any other country.

And still, this precious medal is Kelmendi’s and her’s alone. A reward for a wonderful tournament but also an outstanding career of a great champion of judo.

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