Sheikh Al-Sabah at Anniversary Gala Evening of Kosovo Olympic Committee recognition
Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, President of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), was the main guest of honour during the Gala Evening organized to celebrate the Third Anniversary of recognition of Kosovo Olympic Committee by IOC and the Second Anniversary of recognition by ANOC.
During the ceremonial part of the Gala, broadcasted live on national television RTK, Sheikh Al-Sabah addressed the crowd of 250 guests gathered at Hotel Emerald, in Pristina.
His Excellence expressed his gratitude for his hosts and told the guests that the international sport community took the right decision when they decided to grant 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 a venue when 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, you will find a friend with you”.
Amongst attending athletes, Kosovo’s darling and Rio 2016 Olympic champion Majlinda Kelmendi also spoke and 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 her. I am really happy to see you again”, declared Majlinda.
Kosovo Olympic Committee President, Besim Hasani, who was instrumental in the visit of Sheikh Al-Sabah in Kosovo, was the first one to address the crowd, made up of a mix of athletes, coaches, officials and other national federations representatives, members of parliament, and NGO, diplomatic and business representatives.
“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 Adham Sharara (ITTF), Hassan Moustafa (IHF), Marius Vizer (IJF), Ugur Erdener (WA), Tamash Ajan (IWF), Klaus Schorman (UIPM), Kate Caithness (WCF), Ching Kuo Wu (AIBA), Gian-Franco Kasper (FIS), Göran Petersson (ISAF), Chungwon Chu (WTF), Bruno Grandi (FIG), Rafael Martineti (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 for this dream, I thank you eternally from the bottom of my heart”, declared President Hasani.
Officials from neighbouring National Olympic Committees, notably Vasil Tupurkovski and Sasho Popovski, respectively President and Secretary General of Macedonia Olympic Committee, Viron Bezhani, President of Albania Olympic Committee, and Igor Vušurović, International relations officer of Montenegro Olympic Committee, were also attending.
The event also featured a set of short movies that highlighted the history of Kosovo Olympic Committee through its main chapters, from its creation in 1992 until the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Earlier on Monday, Sheikh Al-Sabah met Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj, Chairman of the Assembly of Kosovo Kadri Veseli and Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport of Kosovo Kutjim Gashi. He also visited Palace of Youth and Sports of Pristina to see the sport facility and meet and greet some young athletes.