IOC to discuss recognizing Kosovo this week

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The International Olympic Committee will address granting Olympic recognition to Kosovo this week, according to Reuters.

“We can confirm that Kosovo will be addressed at the executive board [starting Wednesday] and discussed on Friday,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams told Reuters.

Kosovo, which gained independence from Serbia in 2008, has never had athletes compete at the Olympics under its flag.

Perhaps the greatest athlete from Kosovo is judoka Majlinda Kelmendi, a two-time reigning World champion. Kelmendi represented Albania at London 2012, but would have represented Kosovo had that been an option. She represented Kosovo at the 2013 and 2014 World Championships.

“Membership of a Kosovo [National Olympic Committee] in the IOC would open this door of opportunities for our young athletes,” Kelmendi told the BBC in 2012. “It would mean that we are equal with others.”

Kosovo has yet to become a United Nations member, which usually precedes IOC recognition.

The Serbian Olympic Committee is against Kosovo being recognized by the IOC.

“For four years now, the Serbian Olympic Committee has successfully blocked attempts by the unilaterally declared Republic of Kosovo to gain IOC membership through various channels, while the Serbian authorities have also been timely informed of these attempts,” the Serbian Olympic Committee said in a statement, according to Reuters. “We have information that the IOC is now prepared to support the initiative although we have stated several times, in cooperation with the Serbian government institutions, that such activities are unacceptable.”

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