April 18, 2015

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) IOC President Thomas Bach says he will personally hand out the medal if an athlete from Kosovo earns a place on the podium in next year's Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Bach made the comments on Saturday during his first visit to Kosovo, the newest full member of the International Olympic Committee. The visit follows a stopover in Serbia to patch over strained relations over Kosovo's recognition by the IOC.

The IOC granted Kosovo, a former Serbian province which declared independence in 2008, full recognition in December. That clears the way for athletes from Kosovo to compete at the 2016 Olympics.

Bach said that ''if you really win this medal then I will do my very best to present this medal personally to the first ever Olympic medalist of Kosovo.''

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