By Nick Butler

Kosovo Olympic Committee President Besim Hasani has spoken of his delight after both wrestling and taekwondo provisionally accepted Kosovan membership ©ITGKosovo Olympic Committee President Besim Hasani has praised United World Wrestling (UWW) head Nenad Lalovic for putting sport above politics by recognising Kosovo's wrestling body, a decision followed by similar approval from the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF). 

This latter acceptance was announced following a WTF Extraordinary Council meeting in Bangkok and will see full membership of the Kosovo Taekwondo Federation put on the agenda at the body's General Assembly in Chelyabinsk in May. 

It is not yet clear if this raises the possibility of Kosovan athletes being able to compete at the subsequent World Championships in the Russian city from May 12 to 19, but they should have a chance of qualifying for June's European Games in Baku, and then at Rio 2016. 

Like with the wrestling acceptance, the decision was presented as part of a broad strategy of reforming measures to reflect modernisation in the sport, following the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) long-awaited decision to recognise Kosovo in Monte Carlo last month. 

Hasani, who has led the KOC since 1996, was delighted by both decisions, singling out the wrestling one due to the fact Lalovic is from Serbia, the country from which Kosovo officially declared independence in 2008 following decades of conflict.

"I am very happy that Mr. Lalovic choose to follow Olympic and sport spirit as a means of building bridges that unite people and [do] not divide them," he told insidethegames.

"I am sure athletes will stay together, [then] will train together and compete together at Olympic Villages at Baku 2015 and at Rio 2016.

"He [Lalovic] promised me that once the KOC is recognised by the IOC Session, at [the] next UWW Bureau meeting he would grant provisional recognition to [the] Wrestling Federation of Kosovo in order for wrestlers to compete for qualification for [the] European and Olympic Games."

"Thank you UWW, thank you President Lalovic!"

Kosovo's best hope of an Olympic medal will come in another combat sport, with jukoka Majlinda Kelmendi a two-time reigning world champion ©AFP/Getty ImagesKosovo's best hope of an Olympic medal will come in another combat sport, with jukoka Majlinda Kelmendi a two-time reigning world champion ©AFP/Getty Images

Since the IOC Executive Board provisionally approved Kosovo in October, bodies including the International Gymnastics Federation and the World Karate Federation have granted similar acceptance, while others such as the International Swimming Federation and the International Cycling Union have indicated they will soon do so.

But Kosovo is not yet a member of other key bodies such as the International Association of Athletics Federation or FIFA, although the country was granted permission last year to play official football friendly matches, providing they are not against former members of Yugoslavia.

Although most sporting figures now accept the principal of Kosovan recognition on the grounds of providing opportunities for deserving athletes, the status of the country remains a fiercely controversial topic in a wider political sense.

A total of 110 of 193 United Nations members have granted full recognition to the country's status, but Serbia, Russia and China are among powerful nations who do not.

As a consequence Kosovo is not a UN member, although it is represented in various other international bodies such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

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