Albanian national flag delivered to athlete for Beijing Winter Olympic Games

TIRANA, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- Minister of Education, Sports and Youth Evis Kushi handed over here on Monday the national flag of Albania to Deni Xhepa, the sole athlete representing the country at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games due to start on February 4.

Speaking at the ceremony to mark the occasion, Kushi said she was happy to deliver the national flag to a talented athlete that will represent Albania in the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympic Games.

"Although it's impossible for me to accompany you in China, I am honored to deliver here today the Albanian flag, I strongly believe that you will make us proud there," Kushi said.

Kushi declared that a growing number of Albanian sportsmen participate in international championships, a fact that according to her "shows not only the increase in quality for the sports discipline but also of the support given by the government and her ministry in particular."

In addition, she noted that although the Albanian government has increased investments in the sports infrastructure in the country, there is still an urgent need for more investments in particular in special sports disciplines such as skiing.

"Investments in ski slopes not only expand the development of this kind of sport but also help the development of tourism," Kushi said.

18-year-old skier Xhepa is the only athlete in the seven-member national team and will represent the country in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games.

"I will do my best to honor Albania and raise up the Albanian flag in this competition," he said, thanking everyone for believing in him.

In his remarks at the ceremony, Albanian National Olympic Committee president Fidel Ylli said that Albania has a whole team of young talented athletes that represent the country in the ski sport.

"Today we have a whole team that trains in Italian Alps and this is thanks to the great job done by the president of the Albanian Ski Federation that has managed to gather new talented athletes to represent our country with dignity," Ylli said.

Ylli thanked the support given by the Albanian authorities, in particular by the Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth as the government recently granted five million U.S. dollars in support of all sports federations in the country to develop not only basketball and volleyball but also all kinds of sports.

Chinese Ambassador to Albania Zhou Ding said that Albania has always been an active participator of the Olympic Games and an enthusiastic advocator of the Olympic values.

"I am confident that Deni and the whole team will impress the world again in Beijing, not only by the good performance of skiing but also as a goodwill ambassador," he said.

China and Albania, the Chinese ambassador said, have enjoyed a profound traditional friendship. "I'm sure that you will be warmly welcomed by Beijing, the sister city of Tirana."

Zhou noted that hosting the Olympic Games is not an easy job, it can be a big challenge for any country and it is a manifestation of fulfilling international responsibilities.

As Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out, ensuring the success of the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics is a solemn commitment by China to the international community, he added. Enditem

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