15-year-old Nansi Haxhiu, the champion of an endangered sport in Albania

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When her Physical Education teacher suggested Nansi Haxhiu to join a sport, the then 10-year-old girl saw it as a ‘long shot’. 5 years later, she is the only champion of the hammer throw sport in Albania.

The 15-year-old student, who is currently enrolled in ‘Ismail Qemali’ high school in Tirana stated for Euronews Albania that she is happy with her achievements in her athletic career to date, adding that it would have all been impossible, without the support of her family and friends.

In any case, authorities aren’t playing their part in order to preserve this endangered tradition in our country. The lack of training conditions and financial assistance has drawn athletes away from this discipline.

“We don’t have changing rooms, we don’t have showers, there’s not even any financial assistance, there’s no equipment. I’ve paid for everything with my own money. The only thing that drives us is our passion,” says Haxhiu.

These challenges aren’t new for other Albanian athletes as well, who have more experience and medals.

Klodiana Shala, a renowned athletic champion sees sports in Albania as an obstacle course.

“My own experience with sports has led me to have to sacrifice, because of the very harsh conditions. I hope they can change and gradually get better so that we can train with our hearts,” said athlete, Klodiana Shala.

Champions not only in sports, but also in preserving their optimism and focus, Haxhiu and Shala see ahead of them a future filled with hope, for those that don’t give up on exercising their passion.

“I hope that my results will be high and why not, at one point, I hope to represent Albania in the international arena,” stated the 15-year-old, Nansi Haxhiu.

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