Albin Tahiri: It is such a great thing, that I am doing for Kosovo

Kosovo is one of the least experienced countries if talking about Olympic appearrances. To this day the only time that Kosovo, which is an IOC member since 2014, started at Olympics was in Rio in 2016. The summer debut was good, with judoka Majlinda Kelmendi winning gold. Now it is time for a winter debut. Alpine skier Albin Tahiri is going to be the only Kosovar athlete at country’s first Winter Olympic Games. He agreed to talk with us about it.

Photo published with kind permission of Albin Tahiri


Szymon Frąckiewicz: Let’s start with some questions about your career. How did you start your alpine skiing adventure?

Albin Tahiri: I started skiing when I was 7 years old. I must mention, that I live in Slovenia, where alpine skiing is really popular, especially in my region. So it was an easy choise. My father signed me up in one local club and so it began.

Photo published with kind permission of Albin Tahiri

SF: Last year you have started at the World Championships in Sankt Moritz. How do you recall those starts?

AT: Starts in st. Moritz werw amazing. It will probably be the best experiance in my life apart from this year’s Olympics, because it was my first time on a big event. The organization was on the highest level possible, slopes were super prepared and the athmosphere were awesome. Really, best two weeks so far in my life.

Albin Tahiri reacts at the finish of a downhill race at the World Championships in Sankt Moritz in 2017 //Photo: Michael Kappeler/dpa/Alamy Live News, published with kind permission of Albin Tahiri

SF: What can you say about your last World Cup starts in Wengen? Competing at Lauberhorn must be something impossible to forget.

AT: Wengen is something unforgettable too. Everything is special here, from the vilage and train transports to the slope, which is really difficult. Downhill course is super long and exhausting, but on the other hand it is really intetesting, you have jumps, steep and flat parts, road and s turn on it and the tunnel after. It’s simply amazing.

Albin Tahiri during a downhill race in Wengen //Photo: GEPA pictures/ Mario Kneisl, published with kind permission of Albin Tahiri

SF: We’re less than a month from the Olympic Games in PyeongChang. You’re going to be a first Kosovar representing your country at the Winter Olympics. What does it mean to you?

AT: It means a lot to me. I maybe still don’t realize the meaning of it, because it is such a great thing, that I am doing for Kosovo. It’s going to be a historical moment for me and the whole country as well.

SF: You are eligible to start in every discipline. It must have been hard to achieve. Can you tell us something about your road to PyeongChang?

AT: Yes, I am participating in all disciplines, even though I am more speed disciplines guy. It is really hard to do all disciplines. Last winter I was every day on a diffrent race, just to collect enough FIS points for the Olympics. In the end of the season I was left without a single atom of energy.

Albin Tahiri during a slalom training //Photo published with kind permission of Albin Tahiri

SF: What are your goals for the olympics?

AT: About aims I will answer it like this: it is an outdoor sport where there can happen anything. The end results depend on a lot of factors, from good weather conditions, fast skis to a run without mistakes. I just want to do my best, make people proud and hope for the best.

Albin Tahiri during a downhill race in Wengen //Photo: GEPA pictures/ Mario Kneisl, published with kind permission of Albin Tahiri

SF: For Kosovo it will be only the second start at the Olympics. Either summer or winter ones. So, no matter what you achieve, you’re writing a history. How do you feel about that?

AT: As I mentioned before, I may still have not realized the greatness of it. I am doing it for me, my family and also for all Kosovo citizents. I might present them the way to success and give them hope for a better situation in future.

SF: How does chances for developement of olympism in Kosovo look?

AT: We have a lot to work on to be close to the best. But anyway, we got to start somewhere. It’s just a begining and I hope we will continue like this. I think we have a bright future.

Albin Tahiri with his team //Photo published with kind permission of Albin Tahiri

SF: At the end I’d like to ask you about the future of alpine skiing in Kosovo. Will we hear about some top level Kosovar skiers in the future?

AT: There are some good athlets, that it’s worth trainig with, so I hope that they will listen to my advices and look at me as an idol. About next ski star, we will see. We have big stars in judo, why not in skiing too.

Albin Tahiri at 2017 World Championships in Sankt Moritz //Photo published with kind permission of Albin Tahiri

SF: Are there some good skiing slopes in Kosovo? Maybe you can reccomend any? I’ve heard about one in Brezovica.

AT: In Kosovo there are some good slopes, apart from Brezovica, that you mentioned, there are some great slopes around the city of Peja, ski center Brod. And there is another ski center called Dragash. I would recomend Brezovica, because there are a lot of slopes and it is also paradise for a free ride.

Szymon Frąckiewicz537 Posts

Na stronie od lipca 2016. Wielbiciel tenisa i skoków narciarskich. Specjalizuje się także w pisaniu o narciarstwie alpejskim, baseballu i softballu oraz kolarstwie. Fan muzyki alternatywnej, pasjonat geografii.


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