Touching moment as Majlinda Kelmendi claims Kosovo's first ever gold medal at the Olympics

The judo star shed a tear of joy as she stood atop the podium

Touching moment as Majlinda Kelmendi claims Kosovo's first ever gold medal at the Olympics

Image: Markus Schreiber / AP/Press Association Images

Kosovo won their first ever gold medal at the Olympics on Sunday, as Majlinda Kelmendi stood atop the podium with the cherished prize around her neck. 

Kelmendi was the winner against Italy's Odette Giuffrida in the final, which saw her claim the gold in the 52kg judo division. 

The moment that she was presented with the gold and her national anthem was played was clearly a massive one for Kelmendi, as the enormity of her achievement sunk in and she was unable to hold back the tears of joy.

Image:  Markus Schreiber / AP/Press Association Images

Image: Charlie Riedel / AP/Press Association Images

This is not her first trip to the Games, as she represented Albania in 2012 but failed to win a medal. She was not allowed to represent Kosovo back then, but after the country was recognised by the IOC late in 2014 she was eligible to wear the colours of Kosovo at the 2016 Games, and it clearly meant a huge amount to her to become the nation's first gold medal winner.

The magnanimous reaction of her defeated rival in the final showed how the other athletes around her also understood what a powerful moment it was, as Giuffrida celebrated with her and appeared to be genuinely delighted. 

Her inspirational story is what the Olympics is truly all about, and there have already been several reminders of the dedication, perseverance and strength of the athletes at these games so far. 

Ireland's Kieran Behan struggled through a dislocated knee to finish his routine on Saturday night, Team GB's Lawrence Okolie made his way through to the last 16 in heavyweight boxing after being inspired to get in shape after the 2012 games, and Yusra Mardini, who is competing for the Refugee Team, told of how she swam and pushed a boat with 17 people on board for three hours as she fled Syria.

Although the Games have had their fair share of troubles, there is no doubt that these touching stories have an incredible ability to inspire people.