Category Archives: Sports

Five Diaspora Highlights of 2014

2014 was a successful year for the Kosovo and Albanian diaspora across the world.  Representatives of diaspora were noted for their accomplishments in various fields including sports, music, arts and business. We have compiled here only five highlights to remember 2014 and welcome 2015.  This list is  by no means exhaustive as it includes only some of the many successes of our diaspora.

1. Majlinda is the Best Judoka in World!


Majlinda Kelmendi, the record-smashing judoka from Kosovo, was announced as the best judoka in the world for 2014 by the International Judo Federation.  She is World and European champion in judo in the 52 kg category. The 23-year old Majlinda has become the hope of her country for the Rio Olympics in 2016 after Kosovo gained full membership in the International Olympic Committee last December.  We wish her all the best as she keeps winning gold!

2. Rita Ora Performed in Washington at President Obama’s Christmas concert


Rita made us all proud with her flawless voice and looks at the President Obama’s concert in Washington.  See the video below:

3. Xherdan Shaqiri scored a hat trick at the World Cup

Xherdan scored three goals in a single match for Switzerland against Honduras during the World Cup held last summer in Brazil.  The Swiss national team depended in large part on the other Albanian players as well: Valon Behrami, Granit Xhaka, Blerim Xhemajli, Admir Mehmeti and Pajtim Kasami.

4. Shkodran Mustafi and Germany won the World Cup



Shkodran Mustafi became the first Albanian to play for a winning team at the World Cup!

5. Shkëlzen Doli performed at the Vienna Philharmonic concert

The cherry on the cake was a wonderful performance of Albanian music at the Vienna Philharmonic New Year’s concert by Shkëlzen Doli, who was born in Albania and raised in Kosovo.


Last but not least, here’s a remake in Pristina of the 2014 hit “Happy”:

Ilir Latifi And His Kosovan Roots

Ilir Latifi is climbing up the ladder of success in the MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). At his recent appearance for UFC Sweden and, Ilir tells some of his secrets to success.

The story begins with his family, particularly with his parents migrating from Kosovo to Sweden. Like every migrant father, Ilir’s dad held two jobs of great physical demand.Coming from a big family, with eighteen other siblings, his father learned to fend for himself early on. This in turn brought Ilir his first hero, his father. Ilir however attributes his strength to something deeper: “My ancestors (form Kosovo)  were farmers. They were hard-working, agricultural people. I think that’s where my strength comes from.”


Ilir remembers his early upbringing as full of challenge and hardships, especially with the location of his house and the bad neighborhood. For Ilir Latifi, the MMA and gym practice are a lot more than building muscle and fighting. The discipline and honor taught through MMA saved his future and are the meaning of life itself. Ilir plans to open up two gyms, one in Sweden and one in Kosovo, with the aims of helping the struggling youth and promoting a self taught disciplined life. “I see MMA gyms the same way I see schools. It’s a place for people to find belief in themselves and to find their potential.”

Kosovo Wants to Play – A Campaign to Break Country’s Isolation In Sports

Have you ever been left out of a game? If so, chances are that you did not feel very good about it. Today, Kosovo might be one of the few countries that is not allowed to compete on a world arena. This means that no matter how good you are, how hard you try, you are still not allowed to test your skills professionally on a world stage. Kosovowantstoplay is a Crowdfunding campaign initiated by Kosovotwopoitzero Magazine with the intent of changing this.

So whats the problem you may ask? A number of international sporting federations are still hesitant of recognizing Kosovo as an official country, thus making it almost impossible for sportsmen to compete internationally. This is why we get to watch Majlinda Kelmendi  compete under the International Judo Federation flag. Furthermore, the campaign aims at adressing some issues closer to home, such as the lack of investment in infrastructure, an issue that only adds to the pile of problems each aspiring athlete in Kosovo faces on a daily.

The campaign aims at creating a global brand through which awareness is raised on the question of why can’t these talented athletes compete abroad?  If you would like to know more on the campaign and learn how you could help, please go here.

The initiative has brought global support, ranging from Kosovars living abroad to international athletes.



There has been extensive cover from local media, including the Ora 7 news at Klan Kosova Station.


This basketball player from Argentina wants Kosovo to play! Do you? Tell the world. #kosovowantstoplay


Balon Mundial SUPPORTS FROM ITALY #kosovowantstoplay


Liburn Jupolli is supporting #kosovowantstoplay

World Champion once again

Majlinda Kelmendi has yet again proven herself worthy of world attention. At the Judo World Competition being held in Russia, Kelmendi won against Vanessa Cortesia and overrun her other rival Bundmaa Munkhbaatar. Thus making her the world Judo champion once again.

Thanks to JudoAttitute Facebook group, we got a hold of her latest match on video:

Twitter accounts are constantly popping news on congratulating Majlinda on yet another successful start.

haber kelmendi modnial

Naim Fejza brings a fresh challenge for the Swiss wrestlers

Naim Fejza is  Apenzell’s twice in a row cantonal champion at “Schwingen”- the Swiss traditional wrestling. Fejza is originally from Peja,  thus makes Shwingen an internationally renown sport now, he became a hot topic throughout Swiss media in 2012 through winning Apenzell’s cantonal championship title.

It is interesting to note that only 1% of the Shwingen  professional athletes have an international background, in other words, 99% of the Shwingers are Swiss. While Naim was born in Switzerland, his ethnic background and his family’s country of origin did make him an interesting pick in the team. His passion for sport does not end with only Shwingen, he is a former judo wrestler and is currently also engaged as a goalkeeper at the BSG Vordeland handball team.

What makes “hwingen his favorite activity is the manly roughness during the wrestling matches that end with a friendly handshake. 

Watch Naim Fejza wrestle and let us know of your favorite diaspora sportsman.

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The Albanian who made the World Cup trophy

When the whole world last night was watching the final match of the World Cup between Germany and Argentina, no one has thought where this Cup was made; the Cup which all the participating teams has aimed.

For this work the company that was contracted by FIFA is “Silbag AG” from Lucerne, specialized for cleaning gold and metals. In this company also works an Albanian, Amir Abduli from Përshefc, Tetovo who was entrusted by the employer to make the cleaning of the World Cup trophy.

This is also another story that makes us feel proud of the success of our compatriots.

This picture that you see is made ​​at the moments when cleaning of the cup was carried out.


The Albanian rugby talents in England

Erjon Dollapi and Olsi Krasniqi are two Albanian rugby players who are successfully playing in England’s rugby championship.

Erion Dollapi (1993) since childhood was very strong and fast. He had tried several sports, but he hadn’t found himself in none of them. But when, as a 15-year-old he proved rugby, he realized that he was born for this sport.

Five years after he started to play rugby, he has managed to become part of the “London Broncos” team in England Super League. There are great expectations about his bright future and he will likely be part of the Nation Team of England for several years.

“I started playing rugby at school, like a 15 year-old. The physical teacher saw me playing rugby and invited me to the school team. Since the first game that I played, I fell in love with this sport. I liked it so much, since I was a teenager”, said Dollapi.

Dollapi made his Super League debut on 1 April 2013 against “Warrington Wolves” at Halliwell Jones Stadium. He came off the bench to score the last try of the game from close range, a game which ended in a 54-20 defeat for the Broncos.

Despite playing rugby league for two years, Dollapi received a call up from the England Under-18 team in October 2009 where he earned one cap.

He is originally from the Highlands of Gjakova (near Tropoja, Albania) but he lives in England since he was 9 years old. At the “London Broncos” team he feels more comfortable, because one of his teammates is an Albanian, Olsi Krasniqi.

Albanians winners either way!

Tonight’s football match between Albania and Switzerland has brought a unique and tremendous electric feel among the people of four different countries: Kosovo, Albania, Macedonia and Switzerland.  In fact the attention is even higher in the Swiss side taking into consideration that Switzerland has six Swiss-Albanian international stars featuring for its national team.


Currently the Swiss team contains six ethnic Albanian players (originating from Kosovo and Macedonia), making this particular match even more exciting for the both sides. They are: Xherdan Shaqiri (Bayern Munich), Valon Behrami (Napoli), Blerim Xhemaili (Napoli), Granit Xhaka (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Admir Mehmedi (Freiburg), and Pajtim Kasami (Fulham). According to the Swiss sports media outlets all over the country will be watching the game closely, anxiously and waiting for the turn-out results.


But instead of distressing yourself with the final results of the match, try to think this way “the Albanians will be the winners either way.”We are proud and embrace our ambassadors. They all contribute to our nation one way or the other. They are role models; they are ambassadors. They are our pride. We need more people who are able to integrate in their host countries and contribute to them. This is the best way they can serve Kosovo, Albania, our nation, our image. They are the individuals who have continuously challenged today’s negative image of our nation that is being portrayed by Hollywood and communities all around; i.e. Taken, Wag the Dog, etc.

Majlinda Kelmendi: Kosovo’s First Judo World Title

“It is a chance to prove to the world that Kosovo has got talent, too” said Majlinda Kelmendi for a BBC interview few months ago. Today, she proved the world that Kosovo athletes deserve a chance in the international arena, giving her newborn county Kosovo the first judo world title ever. Now she stands first in the international rakings by the International Judo Federation in the -52 kg category.

 Majlinda Kelmendi celebrates her victory. Photo Credit: France 24

Majlinda Kelmendi celebrates her victory. Photo Credit: France 24

Majlinda Kelmendi is a 22 -year-old judoka from the city of Peja in Kosovo. Coached by Driton Kuka she started practicing judo back in her hometown in 1999 and today is a world famous judoka winning the World Cup at the category 52kg in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Kelmendi won the gold medal at the Rio de Janeiro World Cup after she defeated Brazil’s Erika Miranda in front of her home country public, shaping the image of Kosovo athletes and making history for her country. Majlinda is a role model of future Kosovo athlete and forever changed the image of Kosovo athletes.


”In defeating Miranda, Kelmendi defended her title from last year and ensured that Kosovo’s national anthem would be hear by judo fans worldwide for the first time as she stood at the top of the podium.  It’s good to know when you fight and everybody knows you are from Kosovo, everybody knows your country. I feel great and I am so happy says Majlinda Kelmendi during this video.”

Some of her previous awards are:

Gold medal at the 2009 World Junior Championships in Paris, France

5th place at the 2010 World Junior Championships in Morocco

9th place at the 2010 World Judo Championships in Tokyo, Japan

Gold medal at the 2012 Abu Dhabi World Judo Grand Prix   in United Arab Emirates

Here is the video of the Judo World Cup 2013 in Rio de Janeiro were Majrlinda Kelmendi defeated Brazil’s Erika Miranda and won the first Gold medal for Kosovo.