Athlete Luiza Gega has become the first Albanian athlete to take part in the World Athletics Championships which took place in Doha, Qatar.
Taking place in the 3000 meter hurdles race, she finished in ninth position with a time of 9 minutes and 19 seconds, setting a new Albanian national record. This result means she now qualifies for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
She is the first Albanian athlete to participate in a world final and her success is particularly pertinent if you consider that there is no professional athletic track in Tirana on which to train. The last remaining track at Qemal Stafa Stadium was closed in 2016 to make way for the tower project of the new stadium.
Since 2016, Luiza and her trainer Taulant Stërmasi have trained at the Tirana Lake Park among hundreds of citizens running on a narrow jogging path or at the Elbasan Arena Stadium where although it has athletic track, it is not complete with all the infrastructure required.
Gega’s coach has stated in several interviews that Luiza, with quality training not available in Albania has the potential to perform much better and could be a contender for an Olympic medal.
But the government’s budget for athletics is negligible, though it would be just a few thousand euros for Luiza to train somewhere in Europe.