Photo: Kosovo Olympic Committee.

Statue of Majlinda Kelmendi unveiled in Peja

A statue of judoka Majlinda Kelmendi was presented in her hometown of Peja on Friday, with the Olympic Champion expressing hope that this symbol of her success will inspire children across Kosovo.

A large crowd gathered in Karagac park in Peja on Friday to witness the unveiling of a statue of judo Olympic Champion Majlinda Kelmendi.

Addressing the crowd before the statue was revealed, Kelmendi thanked the crowd for coming, explaining that erecting the statue in her hometown made this an emotional day for her.

“Many people asked me if this statue would be better in Prishtina,” she said. “I think it’s better to be here where I was born, raised and started my career. I really believe that this statue will motivate a lot of children in Kosovo and encourage them to achieve the same successes as I have. I started here, from this small place, and reached the world’s peaks.”

28-year-old Kelmendi has won 29 gold medals throughout her career, including at the Judo World Championships in 2013 and 2014, and the Olympic Games in 2016. Most recently she triumphed at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam in October 2019, and will look to defend her Olympic gold at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in July 2020.

President of the International Judo Federation Marius Vizer was also present in Peja, and described Kelmendi’s achievements as an inspiration for Kosovo. “It is a great honour for our sport to have such a representative, one of the greatest athletes in the world,” Vizer said.

Speaker of the Kosovo Assembly, Vjosa Osmani, also spoke at the inauguration, thanking Kelmendi for inspiring children across the country. “Thank you for raising the flag of Kosovo, even in those countries where us politicians never could,” Osmani said.

Kelmendi trains at the Ippon Judo Club in Peja under the tutorship of Driton Kuka. Numerous judoka from the club have gone on to great success, including gold medal winners Nora Gjakova, Distria Krasniqi, Akil Gjakova and Loriana Kuka.

28/02/2020 - 13:50

28 February 2020 - 13:50

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