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Majlinda Kelmendi’s judo gold gives Kosovo first Olympic medal

The 2016 Olympics are Kosovo’s first as an independent federation. 
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Majlinda Kelmendi’s victory in women’s judo Sunday was a historic one. 

Kelmendi, who defeated Italian Odette Giuffrida in the under-52kg weight class, is the first athlete representing Kosovo to win an Olympic medal. 

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 but is only partially recognized as an independent nation. The IOC granted Kosovo full recognition in December 2015 and the federation sent eight athletes to Rio. Kelmendi was Kosovo’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony on Friday. 

Kelmendi, 25, was seen as the country’s best chance at a medal. She represented Albania at the 2012 Olympics but did not medal. 

Kosovo was also recognized by FIFA and UEFA in May.