PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Kosovo is sending eight athletes to its first Olympics, and even hopes to win a couple of medals.
The Kosovo Olympic Committee introduced the eight on Tuesday; two swimmers, two judokas, two in athletics, one shooter, and a cyclist.
“For the first time, we are feeling what it means to be equal among all the other athletes,” Kosovo Olympic Committee head Besim Hasani said at the presentation.
“We are going there to achieve winning a medal because (judoka) Majlinda Kelmendi is first in the Olympic ranking,” Hasani added. “Our expectation is that Majlinda Kelmendi will be a gold medalist (in the under-52 kilogram class).”
Hasani said the other judoka, Nora Gjakova, could also be a medalist at under-57kg.
Kosovo gained membership of the IOC in December 2014.
“Taking part in the first Olympic Games for Kosovo is an honor,” swimmer Rita Zeqiri said. “I’m prepared well and I will do my best.”
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but Serbia does not recognize it.
It also became a member of FIFA and UEFA this year, and will compete in 2018 World Cup qualifying.