Vatican launches athletics team of Swiss Guards, priests

Photo: Diego Cambiaso / CC BY-SA 2.0

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- The Vatican has launched an official athletics team.

Around 60 Holy See runners -- Swiss Guards, priests, pharmacists and even a 62-year-old professor who works in the Vatican's Apostolic Library -- are the first accredited members of "Vatican Athletics," which was announced Thursday.

The Vatican and the Italian Olympics Committee signed an agreement giving birth to the team, which is now a part of the Italian athletics association and is looking to compete in international competitions including the Small States Games and the Mediterranean Games.

Team members kitted out in matching navy warm-up suits bearing the Holy See's crossed keys seal attended the launch.

The initiative is part of the Vatican's long-standing promotion of sport as an instrument of dialogue, peace and solidarity.