Kosovo's Majlinda Kelmendi got very emotional as she won her country's first ever Olympic medal


First Gold For Kosovo

It was a very special moment for Majlinda Kelmendi as she made history for her country as Kosovo's first ever Olympic medallist.

With the nation making its Olympic debut in Rio, it was a tearful Kelmendi who took to the podium after winning gold in the 52kg judo division.

Kosovo's Majlinda Kelmendi reacts after getting her gold medal (AP)

The 25-year-old's victory was the culmination of a long struggle to represent her country - which declared independence from Serbia in 2008.

After beating Italian Odette Giuffrida she hugged her opponent before walking off the mat in tears and raising her arms in salute to the waving Kosovo flags.

"I always wanted to be part of the Olympic Games with the Kosovo flag and the Kosovo anthem," she said. "I had dreamed for this moment for so long and I had refused so many offers, so many millions from other countries (to represent them).

"There are no millions in the world that can make me feel how I feel today."

Majlinda Kelmendi taking on Odette Giuffrida during the 52kg judo finals (Markus Schreiber/AP)

At London 2012 Kelmendi represented Albania because Kosovo was not recognised by the International Olympic Committee until 2014.

And her historic victory prompted an outpouring of celebration from Kosovans who are delighting in cheering their nation on for the first time.

British-born singer and model Dua Lipa, whose parents are ethnic Albanians from Kosovan capital Pristina, added her tribute to the history-making judoka.

It's been a pretty amazing few days for Kelmendi - she also had the honour of being the flag-bearer for Kosovo at Friday's opening ceremony, leading in the team of eight competitors at the Maracana stadium.

Majlinda Kelmendi carries the Kosovan flag at the Rio 2016 Opening Ceremony (Patrick Semansky/AP)

Kosovo's president Hashim Thaci led the country's official tributes to the country's gold medallist.

Definitely one for the history books in Kosovo - good job Majlinda!