• May 29, 2023

Athletics, historic podium for the Vatican at the European Championships of small states

It took the Vatican just three years to bring one of its athletes to an international podium. The third place of Sara Carnicelli in the 5000 meters at Athletics Championships of the Small States of Europetaking place in Malta, fills Athletica Vaticana with pride, the official sports club of the Holy See, born in 2019 and open to citizens and children of employees of the smallest state in the world.

With an excellent 17’09 “77 Sara, daughter of Giancarlo Carnicelli, an official of the Holy See, was preceded by Lilia Fisikovoci, representative of Moldova (16’42” 11), and – in the sprint – by the Icelandic Iris Anna Skuladottir (17 “09” 10). “I am happy, immensely happy with this third place” she says with a voice broken by the emotion, by the effort and by the Maltese Carnicelli wind, “but I would have been happier if I had won the sprint for second place”. 27 years old, an Italian citizen, an Army athlete, Sara trains in the Cecchignola sports center. “Five days a week I am at the field, I have worked hard and I have other goals in mind”. The next, and even then the Vatican will make history, will be the Mediterranean Games, in Oran, Algeria, later this month. The Pope’s State will have its own delegation for the first time in a multisport event. Last November 1st Carnicelli had won the Corsa dei Santi.

A podium for four

“According to the agreements – explains Athletica Vaticana – with European Athletics and the Association of Small States of Europe, Sara Carnicelli did not get on the podium and left her place to the Maltese Roberta Schembri (17’23 “66).” The recognition of Athletica Vaticana is still being defined: the his athletes participate in these European Championships as “guests.” However, the organizers still wanted to reward Sara Carnicelli and this historic first time, and the podium was four.

Athletica Vaticana had made its international debut at the Games of the small European states 2021, in San Marino. In Malta there is another Vatican athlete, Emiliano Morbidelli, 44, technician of the Bambino Gesù hospital in Palidoro (Rome), who finished last in his 5000 race, but still crossed the finish line despite an ailment to his foot. Athletes from 18 European countries take part in the Small State Championships, from Albania to Luxembourg, from Monaco to San Marino. Athletica Vaticana, a sports club with about fifty members, was born three years ago thanks to the Pontifical Council for Culture and is a member of two other international federations, Uci (cycling) and World Taekwondo. World Athletics recognition is being finalized.

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