Category Archives: Sports

(original article published in TriTeam Kosova)

Conception in circa early September of 2014:

As with most of everything, it all started as a sweet joke followed by a jolly laughter ending in a high degree of skepticism. Yet, an ardent determination was brewing. Grossly paraphrased, the conversation and the rest of it went along these lines: “It sucks, Kosova and its athletes cannot compete internationally. No Olympics…no Rio 2016 either. They’re deprived of the right to be athletes outside of Kosova and we can’t be their cheering fans. Darn, that’s really bad & sad. We must do something. Anything. 5 cents is better than nothing. But, please not just empty words but concrete actions! [mind light bulb flashing] …there is this neat Kosovo.2.0’s campaign #KosovoWantsToPlay aiming to be the voice of all Kosovar athletes in their plea to gain recognition, respect, and support from the international sport entities. We can help. Let’s walk the talk. First do a 10K run and then if we’re alive complete a triathlon! Pause. Yeah, right! Ha Ha Ha. Wait… this is serious as there is a “besa” (promise) involved. We’re in to win.”


As Kosovo started gaining recognitions into various international sport committees, including the Olympics, #TriTeamKosova made good friends with sore muscles and sweat.

Flash fast-forward to the very late May of 2015:

After last minute preparations, packing and an initial luring of a great friend also named Alban [ #TriTeamKosova temporarily became  #TheDoubleAlbanAndRilindTeam] we drove about 4 hrs from Washington DC to Beltsville National Park in Pennsylvania. Sitting on the grass, we tried to wipe off the sweat and listen attentively to the main organizers of the Black Bear Triathlon, sharing info about the race, the bike and run courses as well as possible challenges by Mother Nature (a of a lightning storm forecast that thankfully did not materialize). Our initial butterflies in the stomach had mutated into full-fledged scary dragoons. A waterfall of doubts poured down into streams of “Are we ready? What If? The swimming… transition…the biking…then the running…we have no clue…we should and could have done this?…” A long and deep breath and a genuine desire, excitement and commitment to finish the race cleared away the clouds of doubt and brought the rays of “yes we can” sun! We’re ready and so going to do this!

The Next Day:

The hundreds of participants from all walks of life got us truly pumped, intimidated and yet very inspired. An army of returning and aspiring triathletes accompanied with family and friends filled the park. A basket of human energy to warm a city. All equally wanting to “dare the bear”: swim in the beautiful lake surrounded by lush greenery and bike and run through picturesque yet challenging hills and fast descends. Age, gender, race, status… turned out to be truly meaningless. With the assigned numbers 10 and 44, respectively, we were placed in the first wave of swimming. Feeling somewhat silly and awkwardly captivated in our wetsuits, before we knew it we had joined the school of human fish and were giving our best to push forward and rush for the bike course. Time, speed, and competitive drive were of importance but we had opted to focus on and enjoy as best as we could the entire journey. We felt dizzy after finishing the 750m swim.

Walking towards the transition area we took our time to get out of the sticky wetsuit, grab a sip of coconut water and start a lengthy love affair with our bikes. We were off in the bike course accompanied by encouraging words from our friend and other sleepy yet energetic folks nearby. The recently rained road pavement, road bumps here and there, along with the sharp hilly ascends and pretty scary descents gave us chills and a tons of sweat and pain and memories filled with fear and bravery.  Not to mention the changing scenic scenery, the evasive sun, threatening clouds and loads of humidity. The 18 miles (approx. 29km) of the bike course was miraculously completed.

Tired but triumphant we jumped into the 3.1 miles (approx. 5km) of the run course through the seducing woods along the Beltzville Reservoir. Before reaching the halfway mark of the course we started thanking our mind and body, all the loving, generous and kind people who orbit our galaxies and warm our hearts. All those who helped us train and support us. All those who believed in us. We left the FINISH line  newborn, with a flashy black bear medal, cheers and oblivious joy and pride. Our final times were 1:58:14.8 and 2:11:47.0, respectively.

We’d like to dedicate this journey to all those existing and aspiring athletes from Kosovo and the rest of the world who use sport to prove that sky is the limit, peace & humanity is the way, and life is precious and must be fully lived.

p.s.: Tempted to do a triathlon? You should definitely give it a TRI! Check out these triathlon beginner’s tips!

Jaren Sina is a 21 year old student and basketball player of George Washington University in Washington D.C. Born in Portugal to Albanian parents and raised in New Jersey, USA, Jaren is pursuing his dream of becoming a professional basketball player.

Ben Emelogu and Jaren Sina

Well, as they say, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Jaren’s father played professional basketball throughout Europe, including France, Italy and Portugal. He made sure to coach Jaren from an early age and teach him the discipline needed to excel in sports.

Previously, Jaren played for Seton Hall University in the BIG EAST Conference. In November 2013, he was named BIG EAST Rookie of the Week and has also been selected as one of the best 100 players by ESPN. He recently transferred to George Washington University to take his game to the next level and get one step closer to his dream of becoming a professional player.

Jaren Sina

Jaren is currently in the process of obtaining Albanian citizenship and is excited at the possibility of representing Albanians in the future. He wants to play either for the NBA or follow his father’s legacy in European basketball clubs. As he continues to practice four to six hours every day, Jaren pursues his ascent to success on the basketball court.

Kosovo Paving the Way in the World of Basketball

The sound of balls bouncing on Kosovo’s concrete grounds resounds ever more loudly as Kosovo paves its way in the world of basketball. Everything began in 2008, shortly after Kosovo’s independence day. Kosovo had barely swept away the confetti from Prishtina’s streets after celebrating the Independence Day when FIBA’s (International Basketball Federation) delegation visited the country. The topic was Kosovo’s chances of becoming a FIBA member. However, despite impressing the delegation, Kosovo’s application was put on hold.

KB Prishtina

Nevertheless, this was not the end of the story. The Balkan International Basketball League was introduced that same year and the hosting country – Kosovo, made its debut last season (2013/2014) with two of its teams participating in the tournament. The teams came from Pristina and from Peja. Pristina did exceptionally well. It played against and unfortunately failed to beat Hapoel Gilboa Galil as one of the final four teams left to compete. Since the competition was extremely difficult, Pristina lost once again in its game against the Bulgarian Balkan Botevgrad while competing for the third place. However, the fighting spirit and positive energy of the team were visible throughout the tournament.

Friday the 13th 2015, seven years after sending in the application, Kosovo were granted a full membership to FIBA. FIBA announced the news on their official website. This in turn, pushed Kosovo another step in the right direction since it meant that Kosovo will finally be able to participate in bigger tournaments.

Kosovo justified the trust but in them. KB Sigal Pristina made history as it won against BC Rilski Sportist 165-147 and was crowned as the Balkan League Champion. Since the team from Peja played extremely well, a curios turn of events occurred. Namely, Pristina almost faced Peja in the final match. However, Rilski, the team that eliminated Peja in the semi-finals and ended up losing to Pristina, avoided this. Moreover, Prishtina’s Dardan Berisha was voted as the Most Valuable Player and Balkan League’s Player of the year. Berisha recently left Poland’s national team to join Kosovo. Pristina’s historical win was celebrated all over the country and when the heroes returned about thousands of people had gathered in Pristina to welcome them home.

Kosovo has, thus, shown FIBA that they made the right decision by granting them membership. The next big challenge is the U16 Euro Championship when the U16 teams will introduce themselves and where U16 is lined up against Andorra, Malta and San Marino in the first round. The tournament is being hosted in San Marino from July 6th onwards. That same week, the U20 team will play against Portugal, Luxembourg, Montenegro and Georgia in the Eurobasket U20 preliminary round.

Gjergj Haxhiu: The Promising Racing Champion

Gjergj Haxhiu (15) is a young and extremely talented racing driver from Prishtina, who was born and raised in Switzerland. He is the Swiss champion and runner-up world for youth in Formula 4.

Despite being the youngest and competing in first season, Gjergj Haxhiu won the race at famous Circuit de Jerez, Spain.  Before F4, Gjergj successfully won KF3 Karting Championships in Switzerland. He made the jump to single-seaters, thus competing in French F4 Championship for 2014 Season.

It all started unexpectedly! During a family outing, aged only 6 years old, Gjergj asked for a ride on the go-kart track. After the first lap, he got very passionate about motorsport. Being only 7 years old, Gjergj debuted in a competition with his first kart and brought himself to podium often. His achievements on and off the track are truly inspirational and are being recognized in professional motorsports.


  • 2006 – Gjergj discovers the passion for Go Karts.
    2007 – With support from his father Shkumbin, Gjergj enters motorsports and attends few competitions ranking 2nd on Swiss Romand Championship Mini.
  • During competitions on Swiss Championships, WSK Master Seriers, Gjergj managed to cruise wictories and be in podium very often.
  • Local and International media started already to spot the talent of Gjergj covering a good coverage on his karting victories.
  • Gjergj was flawless on Super Mini category winning the Swiss Championship and Bridgestone Cup in Switzerland.
  • 2012 – Gjergj wins 2012 Swiss Championship in KF3 category, collecting 303 points and confirming the commitment to the sport.
  • 2013 – Gjergj defended the title of Swiss Championship in KF3 category again in 2013.
  • 2014 – Gjergj made a debut in French F4 Championship, being among the youngest to enter French F4 Championship.

Today, Gjergj is 15 years old and competes in second season at the French F4 Championship. Values of this young and promising talent are inside the family that supports him. Gjergj is really proud of his origins! He holds in his car the Albanian and Swiss flags,  while the eagle and Gjergj Kastriot symbols are drawn in his helmet.

His achievements made him a natural ambassador to Karting. Gjergj is deeply ambitious and aims to race at the highest level. Below you can watch his story covered by Top Channel:

Gjergj’s goal is to reach Formula 1!  Sponsorship is essential for him to compete and deliver results over the next years.  To learn more about his career and reach for support, you can check his official website or contact him directly via [email protected]

GjakovaBasel: Switzerland invites Kosovo

NGO GjakovaBasel is hosting a two-day event in Basel, Switzerland to help promote future cooperation possibilities between partners in Kosovo and Switzerland. From January 30-31, the event aims to cover topics such as: promoting Kosovo as a tourist destination, youth and sports, marketing in Switzerland for products from Kosovo and showcasing Kosovo as an attractive option for potential investors.

Among the participants in this event, Kosovo 2.0 today gave a short presentation on the magazine and their work to promote independent journalistic opportunities to young people in Kosovo and throughout the Balkans.

Kosovo 2.0 team highly values events such as this week’s GjakovaBasel, as an important way of “helping to keep the diaspora connected to Kosovo and to develop and maintain the strong bonds between Kosovo and Switzerland.”

NGO GjakovaBasel was founded in May 2014 with the aim of establishing cooperation in cross-boarder projects between persons and institutions in the regions of Gjakova, Kosova and Basel, Switzerland in all fields of culture, social care, economy, civil society and joint social activities.

Erendita Gërguri: A Chance to Greatness in Taekwondo

The 22 year-old Kosovar, born in Vragoli of Fushe Kosova, is a fighter, coach, referee, and board member in Kosovo’s Taekwondo Federation.

Erendita Gërguri is also a member of the Olympic Team of Kosovo. KOHA net reports that “she has a high potential to ensure the Olympic norm for Kosovo in RIO 2016.”

The young taekwondo player has lived for three years in Switzerland. Erendita played different sports during her stay there. In 2004, by chance, she started playing Taekwondo. Since then, she has created an unbreakable bond with this sport.

From 2007 until 2012, Erendita was the winner of 5 consecutive champion titles in Kosovo. In 2013, she won the 3rd place in the Taekwondo Balkan Championship. Currently, she is a member of Kosovo’s representation in Taekwondo international competitions.

Besnik Hasi is Belgium’s Pro League Coach of The Year!

As a result of his success to make the RSC Anderlecht a champion in the Belgium’s football elite, Besnik Hasi was chosen “Coach of The Year” in Belgium. The current coach of RSC Anderlecht was so excited to receive this award, but did not forget to thank his family in Albanian as follows:

“First, I have to thank the club for giving me the opportunity and time to be promoted and become the first coach of the team. It is a great honor! A great dedication goes to my family: I love you, without you I would not be where I am today.”

Gazeta Tribuna brings exclusively the video of his speech.

You can check Hasi’s professional profile here.

Brahimi Excelling in Soccer Coaching

Shemsi Brahimi from Mitrovica, Kosovo is a successful soccer coach for about 300 children in the municipality of Kalmar, Sweden. He trains children of all nationalities and this is what he values the most regarding his work.

Brahimi’s contribution to building a genuine culture of sports for children is highly appreciated and supported by the authorities of Kalmar municiplality, including the Mayor, Johan Persson.

He moved from Kosovo to Sweden in 1997 and since then has worked on enhancing the good reputation of Kosovar community in Sweden.

The original article in Albanian regarding his activity can be found here.


Shaqiri set to move to Inter Milan!

The 23 year-old Kosovar-Albanian Xherdan Shaqiri will join the Serie A giants on loan for the rest of the season. As BBC reports, “Inter Milan have agreed a deal with Bayern Munich to sign winger Xherdan Shaqiri.” The team representatives have publicly informed Shaqiri’s fans worldwide that tomorrow the contract will be signed and he will undergo a medical.

The most popular sports websites and networks all around the world have released and commented on this news. Shaqiri’s move to Inter Milan is being widely discussed, by fans of both Liverpool and Stoke City, who have also shown interest in signing him.

Januzaj in Top-100 of The World

A survey conducted by the CIES Football Observatory shows that Adnan Januzaj, the Kosovar-Albanian midfielder of Manchester United, is among the 100 most valuable players in the world.

Januzaj, who excelled last season under the management of David Moyes, has started to impress the future of soccer. His initial worth is 25 million euros.

The Daily Mail reports that “former Manchester United manager David Moyes has revealed Adnan Januzaj reminds him of Dutch legend Johan Cruyff. Now manager of Real Sociedad, Moyes has been praising the youngster’s talent and attitude since first being impressed by him on United’s 2013 pre-season tour.”

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