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Nuns on the run (with Swiss guards): Vatican Athletics gets Olympic blessing

AFP  |  Vatican City 

- Faster, higher...holier.

The newly-formed Athletics team, which is aiming to compete in international competitions, including the Olympics, was officially launched on Thursday after reaching a bilateral agreement with the (CONI).

So far there are 60 members of Athletics -- the first Association constituted in the Holy See -- which includes nuns, priests, Swiss Guards and other workers.

Monsignor S?nchez de Toca y Alameda, of Athletics, said at the launch that were "the dream but not in the short term".

"The dream that we have often had is to see the Holy See flag among the delegations at the opening of the Olympic Games," he said. But in the immediate future would like to be present at smaller competitions such as the Mediterranean Games.

(CONI) praised the latest initiative at the Holy See which already has and teams.

"It will be necessary to affiliate with other federations," he told Vatican

"I'm sure this will happen, today we have started a courageous and winning start up."

The CONI agreement allows the to take part in national and internationally sanctioned events and to have access to Italian national coaching and medical facilities. members wearing navy track suits with the Holy See's crossed keys seal were present at the launch.

The youngest is a 19-year-old Swiss guard, and the oldest a 62-year-old professor of the

Two young Muslim asylum-seekers Jallow Buba, a 20-year-old Gambian, and Anszou Ciss?, a 19-year-old Senegalese, have also been registered as honorary members.

Vatican said she welcomed the initiative as "sport is the means of bringing people together." The team's first official event will be the Corsa di Miguel on January 20, a 10km race in honouring Miguel Sanchez, an Argentine who disappeared during the country's dictatorship.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, January 11 2019. 10:35 IST