BROD, Kosovo ( Associated Press) — Competing in giant slalom at the Beijing Olympics will be a big step for 17-year-old Kiyana Krieziu and her home country of Kosovo.
Kreziu is Kosovo’s first female athlete at the Winter Games after meeting the qualifying standard during a race held in Italy.
“I really didn’t expect it to happen so soon,” Creaziu told the Associated Press. “It was one of my biggest goals. It was one of my dreams and now everything is becoming a reality.
Not that it has been easy, she said, with training very hard as well as finding money for an expensive sport.
Krzy received major financial support from sponsors, although he is also grateful for the help of Kosovo’s ski federation, the Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Sports.
Equally important, “just a phone call away” was the support of her father and coach.
“Her participation in the Olympics is the greatest achievement and, who knows, any good outcome (possible),” said her coach Agim Pupovsi.
Kreisiu’s father, Vissar Kriziu, said that his achievement in making the Olympics “shocked us as well as the whole country.”
Krieziu started running as a skier when he was about 10 or 11 years old.
“And then I fell in love with it,” said Krieziu, who has since called it “passion and joy.”
His father, who is a photographer at the Associated Press, saw the potential.
“I noticed that if I invested 10% of my time on it, the return was 110%,” said Visser Krieziu. “The secret behind it is a lot of work, a lot of commitment, passion and dedication to the game.”
Her training exhausted the family budget but financial support from sponsors allowed her to train in Austria and Italy last year.
Kryezu’s ambition is to be no more than 10 seconds behind the winner in Beijing. The Olympics are starting on 4 February.
The teenager said she cried when Majlinda Kelmendi (Rio de Janeiro 2016), and Nora Gajkova and Distria Krasniki (Tokyo 2020) won Olympic gold medals in judo for Kosovo.
Kosovo became a member of the International Olympic Committee in 2014.
After the 1998–99 conflict, in which some 13,000 people died and the bombing of Serbia by NATO after the separatist ended its crackdown on ethnic Albanians, Kosovo was first governed by the United Nations and in 2008 Independence was declared in It is not recognized by Serbia.
Kryezu is in his final year in high school.
She said, “Juggling school, sports, family and social life is very difficult, but it seems that I have been able to find the right balance.”
Semini reported from Tirana, Albania.
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