Monsignor Melchor Sanchez/Twitter

Vatican athletics club gears up for winter cycling

The Vatican's first official sports team, which began as a running club in January, says it now plans to branch out into other winter sports, including cycling and swimming.

Made up of 60 Vatican residents, the Athletica Vaticana began as a way to promote peace and dialogue within the sporting community.

Since its launch ten months ago, the club which is officially affiliated with the Italian Athletics Federation, has been making partnerships with a number of Italian sports clubs, leading religious masses and encouraging communities to take part in athletics.

 

The club's success has led to conversations about whether the Holy See could soon compete in other sports too.

Speaking to Premier, the club's president Monsignor Melchor Sanchez, said: "We have plans to open different branches of winter sports with the help of some international federation's.

"Easy ones, like cycling and swimming and perhaps many others," he added.

Despite Vatican City's small population, the team hopes to secure membership of the International Association of Athletics Federations and the National Olympic Committee to compete internationally and participate in the Olympics.

Sanchez insisted the clubs' focus is not to "fight for medals" but rather to represent Christ.

"Some say we have had 'special help from above', which is not true," he said.

"God's blessing doesn't make you run faster, it does make you run for the glory of God.

 

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