Distria Krasniqi and Akil Gjakova awarded Kosovo’s Sportspersons of the Year 2023  

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Judokas Distria Krasniqi and Akil Gjakova were honored with the main awards at the eighth annual ceremony, titled ‘Laureates of 2023.’

Krasniqi received the ‘Female Athlete of the Year’ award, while Gjakova received ‘Male Athlete of the Year.’

This marks the fourth time that both Distria and Akil have been honored with Kosovo’s best sportsperson award.

The ‘Best Coach’ award was presented for the eighth consecutive time to judo master Driton Kuka. “We are preparing for the Olympic Games, and this year will be our fourth Οlympic participation, with one representation for Albania and three for Kosovo.” said Kuka.

The ‘Olympic Hope’ awards were presented to wrestler Lonisa Reka in the women’s category and to taekwondo champion Bleron Ademi in the men’s category.

The Senior Women’s Football Team and the Senior Men’s Tennis Team were respectively honored as the ‘National Teams of the Year’.

The ‘Special Prize’ was awarded to FC Ballkani.

The Kosovo Olympic Committee presented the ‘Special Achievement’ award to the Women’s National Karate Team, who secured a bronze medal in the Women’s Team Kumite category at the Karate World Championships.

This year, retired sports journalists were also honored for their “special contribution” to the promotion of sports and Olympic values. Renowned journalist Gani Kosumi was acknowledged at the ceremony. Additionally, ‘Post-Mortem’ acknowledgments were made for the first time to honor the leading figures of sports journalism – who are no longer In life – Agim Binaku and Milaim Krasniqi.

In the opening speech of the ceremony held at the Klan Arena and broadcast live on Radio Television of Kosovo, President Krasniqi highlighted the successes of the past year. He emphasized the achievement of Prishtina to become the host of the 2030 Mediterranean Games, the medals won, the strong support of the Kosovo Olympic Committee (KOC), and the goals for 2024, with a particular focus on the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Fidel Ylli, the president of the Albanian National Olympic Committee, spoke about the fruitful cooperation with Kosovo, the athletes being the best ambassadors of both countries, and efforts to improve the sports infrastructure.  Also present at the ceremony were the President of the North Macedonian Olympic Committee, Daniel Dimevski, diplomatic representatives from embassies in Kosovo, heads of sports federations, former athletes, and many others.