For a long time, the narrative of Kosovar sport centered on the odyssey of its federations and athletes being recognized internationally — but now it has moved into a new, post-recognition era. In 2016, a team of eight Kosovar athletes traveled to Rio to compete at the Olympic Games for the first time. One of them, Majlinda Kelmendi, came back with a gold medal.
However, it hasn’t all been so easy. Kosovo still has bureaucratic hurdles to overcome, some of its best athletes still represent other states and results haven’t always been encouraging.
Meanwhile, a lack of investment in Kosovo’s sporting infrastructure has often left it ill-equipped — the national football team’s first ‘home’ game was played in Albania, whilst the country has no Olympic sized swimming pool or full athletics facilities. There are now a new set of challenges facing Kosovo sport.
How can sport thrive in the country when faced with these new challenges? How can Kosovo’s national teams compete with much bigger states? How can it be ensured that Kelmendi’s gold medal is not both the first and the last? How can world class athletes be created in Kosovo? When will the football team be able to really play at home? Kosovo can now play — but how can Kosovo grow through sports?
To help answer these questions, K2.0 has assembled a panel including some of the key figures in Kosovo sport:
– Albert Bunjaki, who has been the manager of the Kosovo national football team for nearly eight years, taking charge of matches both before and after FIFA recognition;
– Elvira Dushku, a former basketball player and current member of the executive committee at the Kosovo Basketball Federation;
– James Montague, a journalist who has reported on sport from around the world for CNN, the New York Times and the BBC;
– Iber Alaj, the director of the Department of Sport at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport.
The discussion will be moderated by Xhemajl Rexha, host of KTV’s Interaktiv talk show. It will be held in both Albanian and English, with live translation available.
Complimentary copies of our Sports print magazine edition will be available for attendees, as well as drinks and snacks.K