A young judoka at an under-13 judo championship – of all places – ‘starred’ in the latest incident in a campaign by the new leadership in the Republic of North Macedonia to undermine the landmark Prespa Agreement, and specifically the use of the land-locked country’s constitutional name in favor of the stand-alone “Macedonia”.

The 2018 Prespa Agreement between Greece and the one-time Yugoslav republic to its immediate north mandated that the latter’s name – for all uses – will be North Macedonia. That key point in the international agreement held up until last month, when the newly elected president of the country, Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova, followed in close order by the new prime minister, Hristijan Mickoski, maintained that they would use only “Macedonia” when making statements in the country, and that this was a “personal right” unaffected by their official posts and international relations.

The latest provocation witnessed an obviously “coached” young judoka from host North Macedonia holding a sign with the name of her country during the opening parade of nations at the Balkan Judo Championships U13 in Bitola, but plainly covering the “north” portion with her hand.

The scene was immediately detected by members of the Greek delegation, with the latter’s chief, Maria Karagiannopoulou, lodging a complaint with organizers and demanding a written apology from the North Macedonia delegation.

Karagiannopoulou, who finished 5th at the women’s extra-lightweight division during the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, also stated that the Greek embassy in Skopje would be notified if the slight was not rectified.

According to reports, the North Macedonia delegation subsequently provided a written apology, ending the incident.

The landmark Prespa Agreement ended nearly three decades of soured official relations between the two south Balkans neighbors due to the thorny “name issue”. As such, the former Yugoslav constituent adopted the name North Macedonia for all uses, instead of its preferred “Macedonia” stand-alone, and the wordy “former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, by which it was recognized at the United Nations.

Macedonia is the largest province in Greece, in the country’s north, and more closely approximates to ancient Macedon, while corresponding to roughly half of geographical Macedonia.