News from the NOC of Kosovo

The National Olympic Committee of Kosovo is one of ENGSO’s member organisations since our last General Assembly. As their contribution to our December Newsletter, they wrote about three of their recent events.

Anniversary Gala Evening of the recognition of the Kosovo Olympic Committee

Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, President of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), was the main guest of honour at the Gala Evening organised on 11 December to celebrate the third anniversary of the recognition of the Kosovo Olympic Committee by the International Olympic Committee and the second anniversary of its recognition by ANOC.

During the ceremonial part of the Gala, broadcasted live on the national television RTK, Sheikh Al-Sabah addressed the 250 guests who gathered at Hotel Emerald in Pristina.

His Excellence expressed his gratitude for his hosts and said that the international sport community took the right decision when they decided to grant the Kosovo Olympic Committee its long-awaiting recognition.

“We are proud of you, proud of your success, proud to be part of your history. When we started to see your flag and your delegates walking at the Rio Games, we were as happy as you. You were happy to feel freedom and love. We were happy to feel fairness, justice and good environment for the athletes. Your flag was not only at the opening ceremony; it was also inside the venue where you won your first medal. You showed you were a serious partner and member. You were not coming to only be a new number, you were coming to add value to the Movement.” - said Sheikh Al-Sabah.

“I want to tell you that you have a friend in this world; you are not alone anymore. We will work again and again and again until you will have your full participants, respect for your flag, respect for your nationality, respect for your athletes. This is our commitment, our promise, our duty. As Movement leaders, it is our job to prepare a good and fair environment for all nationalities. Continue, my dear friends and colleagues, we will be with you. We will face the future. We will succeed. We will reach all your dreams. Whatever the dream is, you will find a friend with you.” – he added.

Majlinda Kelmendi, Kosovo’s darling and Rio 2016 Olympic champion was amongst the attending athletes. Speaking on stage she showed her gratitude to Sheikh Al-Sabah for coming to Kosovo, meeting sport representatives and attending the Gala.

“It is such an honour for all of us to have you here tonight. Your friend Marius Vizer, President of the International Judo Federation, told us a lot about you and all you have done for our sport. Thank you for taking the time to come here. I am really happy to see you again” - said Majlinda.

The President of the Kosovo Olympic Committee, Besim Hasani, who was instrumental in the visit of Sheikh Al-Sabah to Kosovo, also addressed the crowd, that was a mix of athletes, coaches, officials and representatives of national federations, members of the Parliament and representatives of the non-governmental, the diplomatic and the business world.

“We are able to gather here tonight to celebrate this anniversary because of the relentless work of so many people who fought for our dream of recognition to come true, a dream that took 22 years to come true; athletes, coaches, national federations’ officials, Kosovo state leaders, International Federations’ Presidents, as Adham Sharara of ITTF, Hassan Moustafa of IHF, Marius Vizer of IJF, Ugur Erdener of WA, Tamash Ajan of IWF, Klaus Schorman of UIPM, Kate Caithness of WCF, Ching Kuo Wu of AIBA, Gian-Franco Kasper of FIS, Göran Petersson of ISAF, Chungwon Chu of WTF, Bruno Grandi of FIG, Rafael Martineti of FILA, IOC Deputy Director General for Relations with the Olympic Movement, Pere Miro, IOC President Thomas Bach and ANOC President Sheikh Al-Sabah. To all these individuals who contributed in their own way to this dream, I thank you eternally from the bottom of my heart.” - said President Hasani.

Officials from neighbouring National Olympic Committees, notably Vasil Tupurkovski and Sasho Popovski, respectively President and Secretary General of the Olympic Committee of Macedonia, Viron Bezhani, President of the Olympic Committee of Albania, and Igor Vušurović, International Relations Officer of the Olympic Committee of Montenegro, were also present.

The event featured a set of short movies that highlighted the history of the Kosovo Olympic Committee through its main chapters, from its creation in 1992 until the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Kadri Veseli, Speaker of the Parliament delivers his speech

Incredible participation at the Conference for Gender Equality and Diversity, organised by NOC Kosovo

Fifteen panelists discussed women’s participation in sport federations at the Conference for Gender Equality and Diversity, which was held on 21st November in Pristina, Kosovo. The event was co-organised by the Kosovo Olympic Committee and the Commission for “Women and Sport”.

Participants included representatives from the Ministry for Culture, Youth and Sport, clubs and federations, former athletes, members of the Parliament and the Representative for Art and Culture.

The objective of the conference was to identify gender inequality in athletics, especially gender gaps and inequality in sports clubs and federations.

The opening ceremony included a speech from the Head of Commission for “Women and Sport”, Ms. Shqipe Zogiani who talked about many important topics, including women’s participation in the Executive Board of NOC Kosovo, the allocation of the Olympic Scholarship, and the achievements of women athletes – including the number of medals won.

The President of the Olympic Committee of Kosovo, Mr. Besim Hasani spoke about the importance of gender equality in the NOC and other institutions alike.

At the end of the conference, the organisers presented 15 recommendations which emphasise the importance of women’s participation in sport and related fields.

The participants of the Conference for Gender Equality and Diversity

NOC Kosovo organised the International Seminar for Court of Arbitration for Sport

The hall of Hotel Sirius in Pristina appeared to be a small venue to host many interested participants in the first International Seminar for Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), organised by the Olympic Committee of Kosovo on 10th November.

Mr. Brent John Nowicki, the Managing Counsel and the Head of Anti-Doping Division at CAS in Lausanne, Switzerland, spoke to approximately 40 participants who came from a variety of sport federations. The attendees discussed several situations of disagreement in their federations.

Mr. Nowicki talked about the history of CAS, the reason for its existence and its importance. He also expressed his pleasure to visit Kosovo for the first time.

The General Secretary of NOC Kosovo, Mr. Shasivar Haxhijaj expressed his satisfaction with the outcome of the seminar and his hopes to organise other seminars for CAS in the future.

“All the sport federations and the Kosovo Olympic Committee must have more knowledge about all procedures of the Court Arbitration for Sport. This is a good opportunity to learn more about all the procedures of CAS.” – said Mr. Haxhijaj.

The Olympic Committee of Kosovo selected its Council for Sport Arbitration in its 7th General Assembly, on 21st December 2016.

Brent John Nowicki speaking to the participants

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