Majlinda Kelmendi: Kosovo’s First Judo World Title

By: Liza Gashi    August 28, 2013

“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.


Liza Gashi

Liza is a public policy professional with experience in project and campaign management, qualitative analysis and big data, and multi-stakeholder engagement in Kosovo, the United States, Costa Rica and Argentina. Liza has founded and managed Germin and the portal. She has been a Commitment-Maker of the Clinton Global Initiative. Liza has also founded and currently leads the United World Colleges Committee in Kosovo, which has administered scholarships for Kosovo high school students to attend UWC colleges in 15 different countries. Liza is pursuing a Master of Public Administration (MPA) at Arizona State University, and holds a bachelor degree from Wartbrug College (IA) in International Relations, Political Science and Spanish. She is a graduate of United World College in Costa Rica, and studied for a semester at the National University of Córdoba in Argentina.

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