Veliaj with the National MMA team: Proud of the cups you brought to Tirana! 

Veliaj with the National MMA team: Proud of the cups you brought to

The Mayor of Tirana, Erion Veliaj hosted the athletes of the National MMA Team, who came second in the Balkan Championship of Mixed Martial Arts, held in June. Given that this year Tirana is the European City of Sports, Veliaj expressed his gratitude to all the players who brought Albania other medals, even in a sport not very well known and practiced in our country.

"It is a pleasure to be here with our super team, which took second place. It was truly an outstanding performance. I am very proud of you! I know, some of you got first places, many others second, many others third, but to be in second place in sports like martial arts, where we don't have a tradition of these disciplines, is really impressive. We started last in these activities and now we have come in second place and I am convinced that it is only a matter of time until we go to first place," said Veliaj.

"I thank you very much for your professionalism, for your passion and for the fact that, from young to old age, we have built a thriving martial arts network in Tirana. My heart becomes a mountain that these medals come when Tirana is the European City of Sports. We had Partizan, which brought the cup in football, we had Tirana, which brought the cup in basketball, we had Student, which brought the cup in other disciplines, and I'm glad that other cities like Shkodra are also producing an infinity of talents. I'm really proud of what we've achieved," he added.

He was also proud of the fact that the 7th Balkan MMA tournament took place in the "Asllan Rusi" Sports Palace. "I am glad that we received an invitation to host the World Championship as well. We would not have been able to receive this invitation if Tirana had not proven that it knows how to do big and disciplined activities. It is a safe place, where the tourist is not touched, where you, even in the middle of the night, can walk freely. At the moment when this ecosystem has been created in Tirana, where great artists come, such as Enrique Iglesias or Ricky Martin, and great world personalities, such as the prime minister, who also worked for the Berlin process and for the Balkan Summit, where the whole the leadership of Europe, then it becomes easier to win the right to a world championship," Veliaj further stated.

The Head of the Municipality said that so far 600 sports activities have been organized in Tirana, while the goal is to reach over 1000 activities by the end of the year, just like in the Year of Youth.