Albania hopeful Luiza Gega will bring home first ever Olympic medal

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times August 10, 2016 11:43

Albania hopeful Luiza Gega will bring home first ever Olympic medal

Judoka Majlinda Kelmendi won Kosovo's first ever gold medal at the Rio Olympics

Judoka Majlinda Kelmendi won Kosovo’s first ever gold medal at the Rio Olympics

TIRANA, Aug. 10 – Albania’s two weightlifters at the Rio Olympics failed to impress as they finished sixth and eighth, but Albania is still hoping for a first ever Olympic medal with Luiza Gega, Europe’s second fastest middle-distance female runner.

Weightlifter Briken Calja who returned to the Rio Olympics following a two-year doping ban finished sixth in the men’s 69 kg after lifting a total of 326 kg in the snatch and clean and jerk.

Evangjeli Veli, who made her debut at the Olympics following a last-minute invitation by the International Olympic Committee, finished eighth in the women’s 53 kg.

All eyes are now on Luiza Gega, Albania’s 27-year-old middle distance runner, who recently claimed Albania’s first European medal after finishing second at the European Athletics Championships in Amsterdam last month, setting a national record of 9:28.52 in the women’s 3000m steeplechase.

The Albanian flag bearer will compete on Saturday, Aug. 13 in the women’s 1500m and 3,000m steeplechase.

Runner Luiza Gega is the only athlete to have directly qualified for the Olympic Games after finishing first in the Women’s 1500 meters in the Baku 2015 European Games and is the country’s only hope to bring home a first ever Olympic medal.

Albania is participating with only sixth athletes at the Rio Olympics, one of the country’s smallest teams as it makes its eighth appearance in the Summer Olympics.

Swimmers Sidni Hoxha and Nikol Merizaj, long jumper Izmir Smajlaj are the three other athletes representing Albania at the Rio Olympics.

Kosovo-Albanian judoka Majlinda Kelmendi, who in 2012 represented Albania at the London Olympics, won gold for Kosovo in the neighboring country’s debut participation at the Olympics Games.

Three former Albanian athletes are representing the United States, Australia and Bulgaria at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times August 10, 2016 11:43