Akil Gjakova, Grand Slam, Paris, 10 February 2018

Each time Akil GJAKOVA has heard the national anthem of Kosovo, it has been for his female team mates; his sister Nora GJAKOVA, Distria KRASNIQI and Majlinda KELMENDI, but yesterday, it was for himself. Grand Slam, Paris, 10 February 2018

Day one of the Paris Judo Grand Slam comes from the legendary Accor hotels arena where every Judoka dreams of winning gold.

Youngster Akil Gjakova of Kosovo made history for his country for the second successive event to maintain his imperious start to 2018. Gjakova, 22, whose older sister Nora Gjakova lost out in the second round of the U57kg category in Paris, became the first male judoka from Kosovo to win a Grand Prix medal in January, but that was just the warm-up.

Gjakova said: “It feels so good to have won the Grand Slam, this is my first medal in a Grand Slam and it’s a gold. I’m very happy I had a very good day. I was in a good form. I beated an Olympic champion. It’s really good and it gives me motivation.”