Kosovo on Tuesday gained full membership of the International Olympic Committee and therefore will be eligible to compete at the 2016 Rio Games.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 but is not recognised by it’s Balkan neighbour as well as 84 other United Nations member states.
The decision to confirm Kosovo as the 205th national Olympic committee took place at the IOC session in Monte Carlo.
It follows a five year review of the case by the IOC.
IOC president Thomas Bach said: “We have been in consultation with the Serbian Olympic Committees and other concerned countries (in the region).”
“The Serbian Olympic Committee President expressed that he is not happy with the decision but he accepts it in the interest of the athletes.”
It’s great news for athletes from Kosovo and particularly the country’s star judoka Majlinda Kelmendi who participated at the 2012 London Games but under the Albanian flag.
The reigning European and two-time world champion will not only compete under her own national flag from now on but after a surprise announcement by Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, she will have the privilege of carrying it at the next Olympic Games opening ceremony.