Two Italy-based skiers represent Albania at South Korea’s Winter Olympics

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times February 6, 2018 15:47

Two Italy-based skiers represent Albania at South Korea’s Winter Olympics

TIRANA, Feb. 6 – Two Italy-based skiers will represent Albania in the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea’s Pyeongchang in the country’s fourth consecutive appearance at the Winter Olympics.

Erjon Tola and Suela Mehilli will both compete in alpine skiing, the only discipline Albania has contested since the 2006 debut appearance.

Suela Mehilli, who in 2014 became the first female athlete from any sport to represent Albania at the Sochi Winter Olympics, will be this year’s flag bearer for Albania.

“This will be the second Olympic Games for me. I am so proud of representing Albania worldwide and this will be special experience for me,” Mehilli, a 24-year-old skier said as she was handed the Albania flag by Ilir Meta, the country’s president, at a ceremony last weekend.

Mehilli has been living in Italy since she was three years old when she moved from Albania. She trains in Cuneo, a Piedmont region province in northwestern Italy bordering France.

Meanwhile, Erjon Tola who in 2006 became the first ever Albanian athlete to represent Albania at the Winter Olympics, will be making his fourth consecutive appearance in alpine skiing.

The 31-year-old Albanian skier also began skiing in Italy when he was six after his family moved from Albania to Italy.

Viron Bezhani, the president of the Albanian National Olympic Committee said the special thing about this year’s participation is that both Albanian athletes qualified for the Winter Olympics and didn’t need any invitations.

Both athletes were awarded Olympic scholarships by the Albanian National Olympic Committee to help with expenses in the run-up to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

Albania lacks proper professional ski facilities and has no early tradition in Winter Olympic disciplines, although some mountain areas have a huge potential to develop ski resorts.

Scheduled to take place from February 9 to 25, the 2018 Winter Olympics will feature 102 events in 15 sport disciplines, making it the first Winter Games to surpass 100 medal events.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times February 6, 2018 15:47