Kosovo Karate artists ready for European Championship in Novi Sad: Will the cases of "handball" and "judo" be repeated?

The European Karate Championship will be held next week in Novi Sad. Participants from the Kosovo Karate Federation should also participate. They are ready for this competition, says their federation. "We travel to Novi Sad with 13 competitors, while the entire delegation will comprise of 30 people," said the General Secretary of the Karate Federation of Kosovo Nazmi Gasi to RTK. There have been, however, the cases of "handball" and "judo" – where no matches between these sporting rivals took place. And Belgrade is still without a strategy for such cases.

"I think that there is no reason to raise tension without reason, this is a sport and I do not see any reason why our national team, like all other selections, cannot attend the championship. Our karate artists often meet with Serbian competitors and we know each other well," Gasi said. also.

Previously, in late March, the Judo Federation of Serbia did not allow its junior national team members Anja Obradovic and Marica Perisic to compete against competitors from Kosovo, inviting the Government and the Olympic Committee of Serbia to find a model of performance in similar situations.

Also, a match between the Kosovan and Serbian handball juniors, supposed to be held in the Serbian city of Kragujevac was canceled in March but then also in Kovilovo.

For security reasons It was decided to move the tournament in Kovilovo  and play it without national symbols; the EHF decided that the matches would be played without the presence of audience and media. But just several hours before the match between Serbian and Kosovo handball players, Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic, cancelled it again due to security reasons, as he explained.

The cancellation was followed by the European Handball Federation's decision to exclude the women's junior team of Serbia from further competition, and it also fined and opened proceedings against the League.
Aleksandar Vucic greeted the decision of his interior minister with the following:

"How will we explain to the citizens of Serbia that Ukraine will not play in Kiev against Kosovo, and Serbia will play it in Belgrade or Kragujevac? Will we at some point, somewhere abroad, have to play a match, because there will be more damage … But, to recognize the independence of Kosovo here in the territory of Serbia… I do not know how do you think that it may take the place? That was the only possible decision," commented Vucic from Brussels while meeting with Federica Mogerini and Hashim Thaci, there.

Thus, it now remains an open question for Serbian athletes how to proceed in situations where faced with Kosovan competitors and what is the Serbian strategy for this issue.

Minister of Sport Vanja Udovicic still remains silent about the upcoming competition in Novi Sad. The only voice from the Serbian sports world in public was heard last year when Bozidar Maljkovic, the president of the Olympic Committee of Serbia, said: "If in any Olympic sport, athletes from Serbia and Kosovo compete against each other to stand in the medal podium- there will no one stepping down from the Serbian athletes."

The celebrated basketball coach who is the first man of the Serbian Olympic Committee at present also said that "if his attitude is disliked by the State  leadership, they should feel free to replace him". There has not been any reaction yet.



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