Kosovo is populated largely by people of Albanian descent, and the region attempted to gain independence with the break-up of Yugoslavia in 1992. The conflict with Serbia came to a head in 1999, when NATO intervened and the area eventually came under United Nations administration. The Republic of Kosovo declared its independence of Serbia in 2008, which has met with broad but far from universal recognition. Apart from Serbia, notable opponents of Kosovo’s independence are Russia, China and India.
The National Olympic Committee (NOC) was formed in 1992 and officially established in 2003. Attempts to join the Olympic movement were held off by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) through 2014. A request for Kosovo’s athletes to compete in London as Independent Olympic Athletes was also declined, which forced Kosovo’s top athlete, judoka Majlinda Kelmendi, to represent Albania. She would later win world titles in 2013 (for Kosovo) and 2014 (representing the International Judo Federation). However, at the IOC Extraordinary Session in Monaco on 9 December 2014, the Kosovo National Olympic Committee was officially recognized by the IOC, after the Executive Committee had provided provisional recognition in October 2014, despite Serbian protests.
Kosovo is set to compete in its first Olympics in Rio de Janeiro 2016. Kelmendi was already named as their flagbearer after the NOC recognition.