Distria Krasniqi and Akil Gjakova have been honoured with the main awards at a prestigious ceremony in Kosovo, the eighth annual occasion of its kind.

At the ‘Laureates of 2023’ awards evening, Distria Krasniqi received the ‘Female Athlete of the Year’ award, while Akil Gjakova received ‘Male Athlete of the Year.’

"This is an Olympic year and we are preparing extensively for the Paris Olympic Games, hoping to deliver a performance as impressive as we did in Tokyo 2020," Krasniqi stated. She also expressed gratitude to her coach, Driton Kuka, for his dedication and work with her.

This marks the fourth time that both Distria and Akil have been honoured with Kosovo's best sportsperson awards. "It's a special feeling. I consider 2023 to be one of the best years in my career, especially having in mind the European Open Championship. This year, along with the team, we will strive to lift Kosovo to the highest Olympic pedestal once again," said Gjakova.

Akil Gjakova accepting his award.

The ‘Best Coach’ award was presented for the eighth consecutive time to Driton Kuka. "We are preparing for the Olympic Games and this year will be our fourth Olympiad participation, our third for the new country of Kosovo. 2023 brought me a different emotion because it was harder for me to sit through Akil's final in the European Open Championship than in the Olympic finals," said Kuka.

Gjakova, Krasniqi and Kuka at the ceremony in Pristina.

In the opening remarks of the ceremony held at the Klan Arena and broadcast live on radio and television in Kosovo, President Krasniqi highlighted the successes of the past year. He emphasised the achievement of becoming the host of the 2030 Mediterranean Games, the medals won throughout the year across many sports and the strong support of the Kosovo Olympic Committee (KOC), with the main objective for 2024 being the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Source: Kushtrim Krasniqi, Kosovo Olympic Committee.

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