Kosovo’s first International Athletics appearance is at a Masters Championships

 

Written by Bridget Cushen on 08/04/2016

Winners of two silver medals at EMA Indoor Championships 2016 in Ancona

Masters athletics were the first to introduce the hammer, pole vault, triple jump, steeplechase and surprisingly the marathon for women in their biennial Championships, the weight throw is yet to get true international recognition. It is appropriate therefore that a new nation should make its athletic début at an International Masters Athletics Championships. Kosovo sent six men to the European Masters Indoor Championships in Ancona and by the time the IAAF acting CEO/General Secretary, Jean Gracia, himself a former Official at both WMA and EMA Championships, had time to officially welcome them as he addressed the Extraordinary General Assembly called by EMA to discuss amendments to their new Draft Constitution, the blue flag with six white stars and the yellow insignia of their country had already been hoisted at a victory ceremony when their oldest competitor Muhamet Rama finished 2nd in the M70 800m. He went on to take another silver medal in the 1500m.

Kosovo declared unilateral independence in February 2008 and was part of Serbia after the 1999 War but was not recognised by the International Olympic Council, UEFA or FIFA. Their Judo star, Majlinda Kelmendi, had to compete for Albania at the 2012 Olympics; she became World 52kg Champion in 2013 after Kosovo was admitted to International Judo Federation in December 2012.

The IAAF granted provisional membership to the Kosovo Athletic Federation at their Council Meeting in April 2015 as the application met all the requirements set out in 4.3 of the Constitution.