The Italian Taekwondo Federation (FITA) has been credited with performing a “small miracle” after teaming up with the Saint Pius X Institute of Vatican City to organise a course for students.
Since last October, 20 boys aged between 13 and 17 years have been practicing taekwondo three times a week as part of their curriculum.
Olympian and European champion Leonardo Basile was appointed by FITA to coach the students.
It is believed to be the first time such a course has been held in the seminary.
Following a taekwondo exam held last week, four students achieved green-belt level, with the remaining earning yellow belts.
Mos Melchor Sanchez, the Vatican’s head of culture and sport, said: “Dear FITA President, this is a small miracle in the time of the pandemic.
“Thanks to you and FITA and our dear World Taekwondo President Chungwon Choue.”
World Taekwondo said it had developed a close relationship with the Vatican in recent years through the shared commitment to promoting peace.
Choue added: “A taekwondo association will be established in the Vatican someday and join as a member of World Taekwondo.”
In 2017, Choue awarded Pope Francis an honorary 10th-dan black belt during a meeting in St Peter’s Square in Vatican City.
Choue was accompanied by the FITA President Angelo Cito.
A year later, the World Taekwondo demonstration team performed in the presence of Pope Francis in Vatican City, which was aimed to send out a message of peace through taekwondo.