Thursday, September 19, 2019 | ePaper
Kosovo, an unexpected world judo stronghold
The young and tiny nation of Kosovo has emerged as a world judo power, its unexpected success spearheaded by diminutive Olympic champion Majlinda Kelmendi.
Eleven years after it gained independence from Serbia and in her first summer Olympics, Kelmendi's success in Rio in 2016 enabled Kosovo and its two million people to beat its big brother Albania that has never won an Olympic medal in any sport.
Kelmendi goes in search of more gold when she competes in the world championships in Tokyo that start on Sunday.
Kosovo's judo success story was created by coach Driton "Toni" Kuka in the small town of Pec where he founded a judo club with his brothers.