VATICAN CITY – It is not every day that the Relay of the Universiade Flame reaches as hallowed a space as the Vatican. The Napoli 2019 Torch, a symbol of peace and brotherhood, was blessed this morning in St. Peter’s Square by the Pope, in the presence of the President of the Campania Region Vincenzo De Luca, and FISU President Oleg Matytsin. Also present among many others, were President of the Italian Universiry Sports Federation (CUSI) Lorenzo Lentini, the Extraordinary Commissioner of Naples 2019 Gianluca Basile and athlete Camille Chenaux, who offered the Torch to the Pope for his blessing.
“It was a great thrill,” said Commissioner Basile at the end of the ceremony with the Pope.
“Among all the stages of the Relay of the Universiade Flame,” declared President De Luca, “this stop on 12 June 12 with Pope Francesco was the most symbolic and full of meaning: peace, acceptance, respect for fundamental human principles. These are the values we want to convey through this great manifestation of sport and knowledge “.
After leaving leaving Vatican City, the Torch arrived in Via della Conciliazione at the Italian Sports Center – a journey of 1.4 km with fourteen torchbearers, seven sports champions and seven students from Roman Universities, who ran in pairs, in transporting the torch. In the afternoon, the Torch reached instead the CONI headquarters at the Foro Italico.
“We are very happy and proud that the torch of the Universiade has arrived here”, said CONI President Giovanni Malagò, adding, “I know the Universiade from the beginning and I am happy for the excellent guidance entrusted to Napoli.”
He also pointed out that during Napoli 2019 “Italian sport will be at the center of this important showcase”. FISU President Oleg Matytsin, said the 30th Universiade will be a “great opportunity” for Napoli and the entire Campania REGION.
“The people who will come to Naples,” he said, “Will discover the great hospitality and the great Italian spirit of Olympism. I am convinced that it will be a success and will send a message to the world, of unity and brotherhood.”