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Albania with three Olympic standards in wrestling, Kosovo not even close

Albania - Wrestling

In three of the six freestyle wrestling categories, Albania will be presented at the "Paris 2024" Olympic Games. As never before, Albania has three Olympic norms in the sport of wrestling. He secured two rates at the weekend in the World Qualifying Tournament held in Istanbul.

Zelimkhan Abakarov will compete in the category up to 57 kilograms in Paris, while he secured the norm in last year's World Cup. Islam Dudaev will compete in the category up to 65 kilograms, while he won the norm at the World Qualifying Tournament in Istanbul. Chermen Valiev will compete in the category up to 74 kilograms, thanks to the norm won on Sunday in the World Qualifying Tournament.

So it is about three naturalized competitors who learned wrestling in the republics of Russia. Russia and its republics have many wrestlers. Not everyone reaches the representative level and thus decides for other countries. Moving from one country to another in wrestling is very common. And Albania is benefiting a lot from this process.

Abakarov competes for Albania from 2022. The 30-year-old is from Dagestan and previously introduced Russia. For Albania, there are world gold and bronze medals, two European silver medals, Mediterranean gold medals and other successes. He is one of the best wrestlers in the world. He even secured the world title in Belgrade and raised the red and black flag.

Islam Dudaev, 29, is a Chechen also born in Dagestan. He also competes for Albania from 2022, as he previously represented Russia. For Albania, he has won European gold and bronze medals, Mediterranean bronze medals and several other medals.

In February of this year, Chermen Valiev, who is from North Ossetia, another republic of Russia, became part of the Albanian team. Valiev secured the Olympic norm in dramatic fashion on Sunday. He had peak success in the U23 age group, representing Russia. Now he is looking for the Olympic medal for Albania.

"We provided two more rates. We have three rates in total. It's fantastic.  Now we're just waiting for the Paris Olympics", the president of the Albanian Wrestling Federation, Sahit Prizreni, told KOHEN.

He brought three top wrestlers to Albania.

"Definitely now the goal is the first Olympic medal for Albania", added Prizren.

Albania has yet to win an Olympic medal. And the odds are high that the first one will be won by a naturalized wrestler.

In the qualifying tournament in Istanbul, Albania was presented with seven wrestlers. Five of them were Albanians. But none came close to the norm.

Meanwhile, Kosovo has not won a standard in wrestling. He hasn't even come close to her.

In the tournament in Istanbul, Egzon Xhoni competed, who lost the first fight in the category up to 74 kilograms.

Albania has four athletes qualified for "Paris 2024". In addition to the three wrestlers, athlete Luiza Gega also secured the norm in the 3000-meter steeplechase.

Kosovo currently has five judokas within the area that provides the Olympic standard, and that's the standard expected. Boxer Donjeta Sadiku also ensured the rate.

Even Kosovo has naturalized athletes. But none of them has come close to the success that the three Albanian wrestlers have.