On 10th August 2014, after three years of absence, on an average height of 18 meters on the bridge that rises above the river Drini of Gjakova-Prizren road, were held traditional jumping off competitions from the Saint Bridge.
The jumping off competition from the Saint Bridge abstracts the tradition and intercommunication of Dukagjini Plain people with water and nature, and as such activity over the years has gained a reputation and respect, attracting contestants even outside the borders of Kosovo.
Major races of this kind in the region and third in importance and their specifications, following those in Acapulco, Mexico and Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina, this year has gathered a large number of contestants and enthusiasts of this extreme sport. As ever in the past 15 years, about 7,000 spectators and 24 competitors (9 on swallow bird jump position and 16 on standing jump position), have given the epithet of a true striking performance to this competition.
The contest of date 10 August 2014, opened with appreciation dedicated to well-known personalities, who have kept alive the tradition of jumping off from the Saint Bridge, ranging from personalities who were honoured post-mortem: Ali Podrimja, Mehdi Kryeziu, Hilmi Musa, Besim Mulliqi and Ruzhdi Jakupi. Also, among the honoured were the living legends of this activity such as: Kujtim Gorani, Gonxhe Xhiha (as the only female jumper of swallow bird jumping style), Avdyl Osmani, Shefqet Vokshi, etc.
Epithet of the best of swallow style jump belonged to a four-year veteran of this race, Sali Riza Gërqina with 59.5 points, whilst in the category of standing jump position from 16 participants epithet of the best belonged to the young 16 year old, David Tuqi with 57.5 points. Organizational Council of the competition, with the purpose of mass distribution of this competition and increased interest among young people to deal with this sport, rewarded the youngest competitor, and this time the cup went into the hands of 15 year old Arlind Shala.
After three years of absence, it was the first time to organize competitions of jumping off the Saint Bridge, which next year is intended to be internationalized, after contacts being made with contestants from Bulgaria, Hungary, Croatia, Macedonia and Romania.
The project is implemented by NGO Time Out, which besides the activity in question, during the day has organized an exhibition with some of the most beautiful photographs carried in jumping off Saint Bridge competitions over the years. Moreover, this activity apart from taking place in the local media has placed Kosovo in the centre of many international media (see report in Albanian).
This project is part of the “Culture Days in Gjakova” initiative to be held during 2014 and is co-financed by CHwB Kosovo, municipality of Gjakova and other partners. This project has been identified within the Local Plan of Cultural Heritage of Gjakova, drafted under the program of Local Plans of Cultural Heritage 2012-2015 in 7 municipalities in Kosovo. For more information about this program click here.