31 DEC 1999 General News

Pope John Paul II receives IAAF President

John Paul II receives IAAF President Lamine Diack on Eve of Millennium Marathon

31 December 1999 - Rome– Italy – His Holiness Pope John Paul II today received in private audience in the Vatican the President of the IAAF, Lamine Diack, and Mrs Giovanna Nebiolo, the widow of Dr Primo Nebiolo, who passed away on 7 November.

The audience was of particular significance, taking place on the eve of the IAAF Rome Millennium Marathon, which will start from St Peter’s Square, in the Vatican, at 12:30 PM tomorrow, 1 January 2000, following the blessing of the pontiff.

The Millennium Marathon was born of an initiative of the late IAAF President, Dr Primo Nebiolo, who wished to mark the particular significance of the start of the new millennium with a mass sporting event that would characterise the important social role played by athletics world-wide. The images of thousands of athletes from every continent competing in a race that will be inaugurated by the blessing of the head of the Roman Catholic Church, will be a significant symbol of brotherhood and equality, that will be broadcast around the world.

Following his audience with Pope John Paul II, the IAAF President was the guest of a live debate in English, French and Italian, broadcast on the world-wide network of Radio Vatican.