In my wanderings "Albanian" I got to know and meet different people. Among these people, two are particularly heart to me and with whom I have made an important bond of profound friendship. In order of appearance I'm talking about:
Besmir Banushi originally from Valona Ciclista. Champion of the Balkans, champion of Albania and many other important results.
Rovena Marku: originally from Shiroka, swimmer, champion with two Olympics behind her, holder of various records not yet beaten. Recently she was appointed Technical Director of the Albanian Swimming National Team for the Olympic Games in Mersin (Turkey) and at the end of July she will lead the Albanian National Team at the World Swimming Championships to be held in Barcelona at the end of July.
Their sports disciplines are different from each other, so they have a lot in common: passion, determination, disappointment.
The great passion for what sport is in general and that is the real "life motive" of their life, they have in their DNA. They have the same soul! And they have many bitternesses in common I will not elaborate on the various gold results obtained, those can be seen and found on any site by typing their names.
I would like to express what they have inside them and what they have transmitted to me during the hours we spent together both here in Albania and in Italy talking about their future plans and dreams to be realized.
It gave me sadness when I heard from them that during their travels abroad they find it difficult to have training opportunities and they have to "beg" him from other foreign teams.
They have in common that they do not receive any compensation for these transfers, or participation bonuses that they would be entitled to.
They have humility in common. I remember Rovena's shining eyes when he told me that at the last Olympics he took part in, he only had a costume, competitions and training, just that. An American colleague gave him two, and she described these technological costumes made with specially designed materials that she had dreamed of for a lifetime, as if it were the most beautiful wedding dress that could be afforded, and how the local press criticized her wondering how he could have afforded them. He was just talking to me about two swimsuits!
As I remember the period (about two years ago) when I managed to bring Besmir to Italy and put it in an important team to be able to do tests, training and competitions. The Italian executives were amazed by his power, by his pure, sincere and clean will power as he is.
You can imagine the results, one success after another. Then, as if by magic, an international sports company wants to do a test to him that reveals its high physical and resistance potential, it opens up the possibility for him to fully enter the world that belongs to him and at high levels. Possibility that shortly thereafter he will be precluded by the Federation which saw only an economic opportunity and which did not allow this to happen.
Both prefer results to words, both get embarrassed by a compliment or a pat on the back and don't like being in the spotlight.
When I talk to them about their results, their commitments, their awards, the eyes shine when they tell me that hearing the national anthem of their country and touching, wearing their flag, excites them to the point of having to hold back their tears. Tears of joy and anger at what they could do more and that for various factors cannot do. These factors are envy, jealousy, ignorance.
I understood that the greatest challenges, however, have them at home, they have them with their respective Federations, they have them with the Directorates that do not always reward their results but on the contrary sometimes even try to diminish them. I also understood that in these situations there are interests that go beyond the noble thinking of sport.
Perhaps private interests that do not always coincide with real sports needs and to which they cannot oppose, thus experiencing a state of constant frustration.
I personally believe that having such precious "family jewels" can be an excellent business card for those who, from afar, see their skill and commitment. I wrote about them because, as I said, I know them personally, but I know that history repeats itself in all sports and not just sports.
Once again meritocracy does not win, on the first podium rises the cronyism, it is bad to think that it is so, but this emerges from their words.
Yet of great Albanians (writers, writers, actors, poets, musicians, singers, dancers, directors, etc.) they hear about it, and every time someone emerges, who knows why it always happens and only when they go to the talent! Perhaps it will be because abroad the commitment is recognized, respected and applauded as well as paid?
I wonder how we can still shatter and destroy the dream of people who dedicate their daily sacrifice to their country, and how many talents can be allowed as soon as they get the chance if they go abroad, thus denying their country the possibility of being able to see it in a new light.
I know that my thoughts are perhaps utopia, but I like to think that things can soon change as well as the period of new political and social revival.
Sport has always been the most important communication tool for transmitting positive messages to new generations, messages that praise fairness, competition for the values of a healthy life and sound principles.
Don't stop them from flying.