Sport

The karate player who made the beautiful scene possible from Podgorica

Descriptive Text

The flag of Kosovo was raised high, higher than that of Serbia, thanks to the success of karate player Alma Loki in the Balkan Championship that ended on Sunday in Podgorica, Montenegro.

The 19-year-old won the gold medal in kata at the Balkanic for seniors, as in the final she was awarded more points than Serbia's karate player, Neda Milosevic.

Alma Loki and Milosevic also shared the podium during the acceptance of the medals. Naturally, the Kosovar contestant was one step higher than the Serbian Milosevic.

Loki says that the triumph over Serbia makes the medal won in Montenegro even more special. In the final, she was evaluated with 24.20 points by the judges, while the Serbian got 23.90 points.

"Before the final, in the third match, I had the challenge against another Serbian, which I won. But in the final, the motivation was 100 percent, maybe because the opponent was Serbian and I said that if I don't win this, I won't call myself Alma. I entered with great confidence and motivation. I felt proud of myself. I had great support. I did not expect to have all this support. I received their support very well", said Alma Loki for KOHE on Sunday.

She beat several contestants to the finals. In the first round, she eliminated a contestant from Greece, then in the second round, a contestant from Turkey. In the third round, her opponent was the Serbian Mina Mesiq, whom she passed with a score of 23.80 points. The Serbian Mesic had 22.90 points and so Loki went on to eliminate the Bosnia-Herzegovina competitor in the fourth round and then winning the final.

For Kosovo, it is the first Balkan medal won in kata, which is a "fight with an imaginary opponent", namely a demonstration of karate techniques.

"We have not had any problems. Even her coach congratulated me. We are sportsmen and there should be no hate in sports. I felt good, very good that I won and I made all Albanians proud", said Loki.

Each contestant chooses his floor and at the end is evaluated with points by the judges. The maximum a contestant can earn is 30 points. Each contestant appears alone in front of the judges and then the judges rate between one and ten points. Whoever has the most points wins.

"It was a fantastic feeling, starting from the level of the competition that was Balkanik for seniors and I just turned 19 years old. So I am still competing in the U21 category, while I was declared the champion of the Balkans for seniors. I feel very good. This medal will be an impetus to reach European and world medals and other top results", said Loki.

She is a competitor from Ferizaj, while she regularly participates for Kosovo in major events. She hopes to win a medal at the European Championships held in Zare, Croatia from May 8 to 12.

"In May, we have the senior European Championship in Croatia. I will work hard, I will not stop to triumph. I hope, why not a medal too", declared Loki.

Vlera Qerimi also won a medal for Kosovo in the Balkans. She won a bronze medal in the category up to 68 kilograms in the wars.

With a victory, Kosovo won the bronze medal in the karate team competition. Kosovo lost to Croatia, while they won against Montenegro.

There were also two fifth places and two seventh places for Kosovar karate players. In the overall ranking, Kosovo was ranked fifth out of 12 participating countries.