Majlinda Kelmendi

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Majlinda Kelmendi
Memli Krasniqi meeting Majlinda Kelmendi (cropped).JPG
Personal information
Nationality  Kosovo  Albania
Born (1991-05-09) 9 May 1991 (age 24)
SFR Yugoslavia
Weight −52 kg (−115 lb; −8.2 st)
Sport Judo
Rank 1 (-52kg) [1]

Majlinda Kelmendi (born 9 May 1991)[2][3] is a Kosovar Albanian judoka.[4] As of 2013, Majlinda stands first in the international rankings by the International Judo Federation in the −52 kg category.[5]

In 2014 Majlinda was declared as the best judoka in the world in all categories by the IJF president, Marius Vizer.[6][7] On 24 December 2014, she was decorated by the President of Kosovo, Atifete Jahjaga with "Presidential Medal of Merit".[8]

Early career[edit]

Born in Peja, back then part of SFR Yugoslavia, Kelmendi began practising the art of judo in 1999, in her hometown. Her current coach is Driton Kuka[9][10]

In 2009, Kelmendi won the gold medal at the World Junior Championships in Paris, France.[11] In 2010, she came 5th at the World Junior Championships in Morocco[12] and finished 9th in the 52 kg category at the 2010 World Judo Championships in Tokyo, Japan.[13]


Due to the resistance of International Olympic Committee and the United Nations, Kelmendi was not allowed to represent Kosovo at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and instead chose to represent Albania, where most Albanians originating from Kosovo choose to represent.[14]

However, in October 2014 the International Olympic Committee provisionally recognised the Olympic Committee of Kosovo and gave it full membership on 9 December 2014.[15][16] It is expected that Kosovo will participate at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.[17] It has been announced that Majlinda will wave Kosovo's flag during the Parade of Nations within the opening ceremony in Rio.[18]

2013-present: Winning the WJC title and comeback[edit]

On 27 August 2013, Majlinda Kelmendi gave Kosovo their first ever judo world title on Tuesday as she beat Brazil's Erika Miranda in the −52 kilogrammes gold medal match in Rio de Janeiro.The 22-year-old – the first Kosovar judoka to win a medal at the championships since it became a state in its own right in 2008 – was not a shock winner as she came to Rio de Janeiro ranked number one in her category having won the prestigious Masters event.

On 26 August 2014, Majlinda Kelmendi maintained the Judo world title, winning the 2014 World Judo Championships. She only lost twice in 2013 and has beaten everyone of note in her division.[19] On 31 October 2014, Majlinda Kelmendi won the gold medal at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam 2014".


  1. ^ "Judo Inside" (PDF). 
  2. ^ "Kosovo: Majlinda, the judo star". BalcaniCaucaso. Retrieved 28 August 2013. 
  3. ^ "The Olympics Interview: Majlinda Kelmendi". FP. Retrieved 28 August 2013. 
  4. ^ "Majlinda Kelmendi". BBC. Retrieved 22 April 2013. 
  5. ^ "IJF World Ranking List – 27/02/2013". International Judo Federation. International Judo Federation. Retrieved 27 February 2013. 
  6. ^ "Vizer shpall Majlindën më të mirën në botë". Retrieved 15 December 2014. 
  7. ^ "Majlinda nënkupton sukses". RTK Live. Retrieved 15 December 2014. 
  8. ^ "Majlinda Kelmendi dekorohet me Medaljen Presidenciale të Meritave". Telegrafi. Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  9. ^ Browne, Luke. "The Olympics Interview: Majlinda Kelmendi". Financial Times. Retrieved 27 February 2013. 
  10. ^ Eades, David (21 July 2012). "Politics bears down on 2012 hopeful Majlinda Kelmendi". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  11. ^ Mark Lowen (17 September 2010). "BBC Sport – Politics bears down on 2012 hopeful Majlinda Kelmendi". Retrieved 24 November 2010. 
  12. ^ "IJF World Championship Juniors 2010 – 52kg category results" (PDF). IJF website. International Judo Federation. Retrieved 17 February 2013. 
  13. ^ "World Championships 2010 – 52kg category results" (PDF). IJF website. International Judo Federation. Retrieved 17 February 2013. 
  14. ^ Jackson, Jamie (29 July 2012). "London 2012: Judo's Majlinda Kelmendi still fighting for recognition". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 February 2013. 
  15. ^ Olympics: IOC has no concerns over Kosovo recognition
  16. ^ "Kosovo to compete at Rio 2016 Olympics after recognition from IOC", Associated Press, 9 December 2014.
  17. ^ Kosovo given go-ahead by IOC to take part in 2016 Olympics
  18. ^ "Majlinda Kelmendi carries the flag of Kosovo at Rio 2016". Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  19. ^ [1]