Carried by athlete Camille Chenaux, the Torch of the Universiade Napoli 2019, symbol of peace, cohesion and brotherhood, was blessed this morning in Piazza San Pietro by Pope Francis in the presence of Vincenzo De Luca (President of Regione Campania), Oleg Matytsin (FISU President), Lorenzo Lentini (CUSI President), Gianluca Basile (Extraordinary Commissioner of Napoli 2019), Gaetano Manfredi (Rector of the University of Naples Federico II) and Luca Pancalli (President of the Italian Paralympic Committee). After leaving Turin, host city of the first Universiade edition, the Torch will keep traversing Italy before reaching Naples in the evening of July 2nd.
"It has been a special thrill," commented Commissioner Basile at the end of the General Audience. "Among all the stops of the Torch Relay route - declared President De Luca - this one has been today the most significant. Peace, hospitality, respect for fundamental human rights, dialogue between peoples: These are the values we want to convey through this great event of sports and knowledge".
After leaving Vatican City, the Torch passed through Ponte dell'Angelo, arriving in Via della Conciliazione at the Italian Sports Center: A 1.4 km path run by fourteen torch-bearers, specifically seven sports champions and seven students from the Roman Universities, who took turns running in pairs. In the afternoon, instead, it reached the CONI headquarters at Foro Italico. "We are very happy and proud that the Universiade Torch has got here", said President Giovanni Malagò, adding: "I have been aware of the Universiade since the beginning and I am happy for the excellent leadership entrusted to Commissioner Basile", pointing out that "Italian sport is at the center of this important showcase" thanks to Napoli 2019. FISU President Oleg Matytsin, called the upcoming Universiade, scheduled from 3rd to 14th July in Naples and Campania, a "great opportunity". "All those coming to Naples will discover the great hospitality and the great Italian spirit. I strongly believe it will be a success with the possibility of sending a message of communion and brotherhood to the world", he concluded.