She had arrived before me in one of the rare bars whose owner had seriously taken the respecting of the anti-smoking policy. As I apologised for arriving a few minutes late, she smiled saying that she was always on time. She wants to wait for none. That’s how Klodiana Shala revealed to me her character for the first time. She is not simply a well-known sportswoman but even a person to be explored by no means. Pleasant and beautiful with her behaviour, she offers an entire world. Full of plans, ideas and dreams, she confesses that the secret of her success rests on her persistence and on the good fate which has attended her throughout the life. The capricious girl, known in the national and international sports world, has taken an important decision in her life, to have a baby … To come to this day, she needed many years of co-living with Taulant Stërmasi. To her, he is her friend, her lover, her coach and soon the father of the baby.
Amidst the dilemma whether to give up sporting or not, the idea of having a baby is under discussion. For some years, she has heard the begging of her mother to have a nephew or a niece but Klodiana has always refused until, she, finally, surrounded by many children of friends and newly-born babies, said “yes” to the proposal of Taulant to have a baby. They both have worked hard for this day to come, she has been trained in the rain, snow and hail to be awarded with gold and silver medals in the championships. She was trained to be a real lady. And now she is a real one. She admits that having a baby has been a late decision because she wanted to have all the things in order, i.e. the sport, the house and the work. They have all now and she is sure of her decision. She wants to have a baby boy and surely she will raise him by herself. A babysitter will be simply a prop for her because Klodiana will nurture the blood of her blood with all her love and care and raise it with what is said the babies need to be grown, the aroma of mother’s body. Her husband is building their villa somewhere in the outskirts of Tirana and she hopes to enjoy the new house alongside with the baby next year … She would love to have a baby boy, however she will accept what the stars have written for her. She caresses the children of her friends for the moment while she and Taulant feel happy with the idea of having a baby. Taulant has tested Klodiana even in cuisine. She has resulted stronger in front of his conspicuous food tastes. That’s her concern too because she wants to surround her baby with an excessive mother care. But this baby will be the first of the list, she loves to have a large family, full of children who, surely when grown up, will be free to become sportsmen, lawyers, engineers or whatever, without influencing on their choices.
Klodiana and Taulant have never been separated from one another in 14 years of co-living. Of course, it has not been always easy. Anger and rancour has knocked sometimes in their door but it has not lasted for more than 48 hours. None of them has run away or left things unclear in the middle of a hot temper. She says that she is tender and always ready to reconcile because God had bestowed on her a vast spiritual world. Speaking of the situations and how things are: this is the key to a successful marriage. When Taluant is with me, I ask him to discuss in order not to let things pending. That’s how they have made it after 14 years, to finalise what is considered sacred by all, a family….
She is the sole daughter of Bashkim Shala. She has one brother who lives in the United States where she has never been. Perhaps I won’t go there, she says, because if I do, my brother and his family won’t come to see us. With a typical Tirana accent, she reveals that her origin is from Kosovo but born and raised in an old Tirana alley somewhere in Medrese area. She started sporting late. Just by coincidence. She simply won a race at school when she was on the eighth grade. Neither her, nor her gym professor convinced her father to let her follow sport. But, thanks God, there are even good coups in this world. It was her mother who, for three months in a row, helped her to go training by saying to her father that they were going to visit her sister. Then, she was awarded as a champion. Her father forgot about the small family coup taking pride in her daughter’s success. After that, Klodiana’s success was unstoppable, she broke records so many times. She lived in Greece for three years together with Taluant who is also her coach. Klodiana considers the training she made at that time “as animal-like” but she is convinced that without the will she is characterised with, she won’t be the one she is to date.
For two months now, she is in the post of the director of “The Agency of Sports’ Service”. At last, she has changed the image of the sportive premises which who has seen them looked like filthy, narrow and stinky prisons. To realize that, she has “begged” for donations everywhere. “I have begged in those two months more than in all my life,” she said. And she made it. All want to help her finding hard to say “no” to Klodiana Shala, the girl who raised the Albanian flag in the olympic and international games. Now those offices have light, water, air-condition, chairs and everything else. And above all, the fleas do not pester any more. Before it was impossible to escape to those little blood suckers because the stranded dogs spent the night around the building. In addition, accumulated garbages, deposited in warehouses since 1987, were found there. She has also arranged all the accommodation premises for the sportsmen who come from the other cities. She has called it now “The Sportsmen Accommodation Center”. If you would call Klodi (as everybody calls her) differently, she would be named an altruist. She has something of “boy scout” in her nature, who knows why she likes to help each and everyone.
Whether she knows you or not, all you have to do is to ask for her help. She is applying this style at work: to be available for all and she expects the others be with her. After all, she deserves it. She knows how to take care, how to give but even how to take. She likes to work with people whose spark is still bright in their eyes and who like to do a good thing in life. Because She, Klodiana Shala, has never left without leaving a sign behind, surely that’s what she will do even with her career as a director.