osovo, the Balkan nation that tends to produce some of the region’s most intractable problems, has instead been gaining attention in recent days for its judo champions at the Tokyo Olympics.

Millions watched last week as two Kosovo women, Nora Gjakova and Distria Krasniqi, claimed gold medals in their weight categories. While two golds may be no big deal for Olympic behemoths like China or the U.S., it’s the type of accomplishment that can vault a small country like Kosovo into the international spotlight — and help change its reputation.

The triumphs have put Kosovo among the top countries at the Tokyo Olympics when it comes to gold medals won per head of population.

“Victories like this make us forget we’re small and make us good enough to fight against the big leagues,” said Kushtrim Krasniqi, press officer for Kosovo’s Olympic committee, speaking on the phone from Tokyo.

And that’s exactly what Kosovo is trying to do on multiple fronts. The country has been waging a multi-year campaign to gain international recognition as an independent nation — and ultimately join major organizations like the U.N. and EU. Currently, around 100 countries recognize Kosovo’s independence but the drive to join the U.N. has effectively hit a wall, due to opposition from wartime enemy Serbia and its allies, such as Russia.

Reluctance in Serbia to recognize Kosovo was reflected in news reports on the victories, featuring headlines such as “So-called Kosovo Wins Gold in Tokyo” and referring to the country as “Serbia’s southern province” — despite Kosovo and Serbia competing against one another and being awarded scores separately.

Serbia’s public broadcaster RTS abruptly interrupted its broadcast of the match in which Gjakova won the gold medal, claiming to lack crew on the ground. “We run all the matches and medal wins, even those of self-proclaimed Kosovo,” entertainment news editor Olivera Kovačević told Radio Free Europe.

EU membership for Kosovo looks a very distant prospect. EU-sponsored talks to produce a permanent settlement between Kosovo and Serbia as a step on the long road to joining the bloc have been going nowhere for years.

We use all content from others website just for demo purpose. We suggest to remove all content after building your demo website. And Don't copy our content without our permission.