· Vatican City ·

Athletica Vaticana and San Marino on the padel courts

For friendship and fraternity

 For friendship and fraternity  ING-018
03 May 2024

It was an international debut marked by friendship and fun that featured the Vatican Padel team, the group of padel athletes representing Athletica Vaticana. The friendly match with the Federation of San Marino was a precursor to the European Padel Championships in Cagliari and to the Small States Championships in Luxembourg scheduled for the summer. “Our goal is to try to put Pope Francis’ vision of fraternity into practice, with a lot of humility and aware of our limitations”, said Athletica Vaticana President Giampaolo Mattei, describing the activity of the Holy See’s official sports association. “The idea is to come together to practice sport with a vision of peace. I believe that by starting small, we can even reach great heights”.

“We are happy to be here and to be able to communicate a sports message by speaking of friendship, inclusion and sociality”, said Alessandra Turco, the director of Vatican Padel. “Our team will participate in the European championships which will be played at the end of July in Cagliari, with a qualifiers phase in early June. Then at the end of August, we have the Small States Tournament in Luxembourg, where we will come together to play and have fun”. What, then, does the future hold? “We will train, we will try to do our best. We hope we win, but if we lose, we will do so with dignity. We will certainly carry forward the course of action Pope Francis taught us: one of fraternity, one sport for everyone and without barriers. We are sure we will find the same vision in our companions from the small States. Together we will launch a positive message and promote a sporting friendship built on these values that envision padel as a sport for all”.

Leading the San Marino team is Stefano Pazzini, head of the Padel section of the San Marino Tennis Federation: “We are very happy with this invitation from Athletica Vaticana to be protagonists in their international debut. Padel is a discipline which in recent years has grown incredibly. No other sport has experienced the same amount of development in such little time”. San Marino will also participate in the upcoming European competitions. “Competition for us is not complicated, but we are working to try to do our best. Growth is important, starting especially with young people, who will be the athletes of the future. We will try to compete at the highest levels”. Competition and challenge, but sport is also an important vehicle for social values: “There is competition in sports, but in the end the values of solidarity emerge. As is the case with this friendly match with Vatican Padel”.

Also present at the event was Alessia Da Soller, head of the Villa Pamphili Padel Club, which hosted the match between Vatican Padel and San Marino and which has been hosting Athletica Vaticana events for some time. “We are extremely proud and enthusiastic to be able to host this event. During this past year we have collaborated a lot with Vatican City State. We are hosting them today, too, together with another small state like San Marino which is part of the padel world. From today’s matches, loyalty and sportsmanship emerge. It’s a starting point to promote this sport’s inclusion in society”. For Da Soller, too, sport represents a means to diffuse positive messages: “Sport is important in all its aspects, and it is even more important for the sociality of those who are less fortunate. If we can be useful in some way, we would be very happy. It is something we care about very much”.

Gianmarco Murroni