Thomas Bach thanked FITA for hosting Ukrainian athletes ©Getty Images

The International Olympic Committee President (IOC) President Thomas Bach thanked the Italian Taekwondo Federation (FITA) for hosting Ukrainian taekwondo athletes at the Giulio Onesti di Roma.

Bach was in Rome to collect the Collare d'Oro - the highest award of the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI).

He visited Mariia Labuzova, Renata Podolian, Andrii Chumachenko, Oleksandr Chumachenko, Mykhailo Korsak, Danyil Babloniuk and Mahdia Sharifi, the Afghan refugee athlete who trains in the country.

"Thank you very much for what you have done for these athletes," Bach said.

"It is the translation and application on the field of the Olympic spirit and of our values, to remain united under the banner of inclusion and non-discrimination : Citius, Altius, Fortius - Communiter!"

Accompanied by CONI secretary general Carlo Mornati, the Montreal 1976 Olympic foil gold medallist also met Ukrainian sabre Olympic champion Olga Kharlan during the visit.

In April, IOC member and National Olympic Committee of Ukraine President Sergey Bubka visited the facility along with Ukrainian Minister of Youth and Sport, Vadym Guttsait, who is also an Olympic fencing champion at Barcelona 1992.

FITA President Angelo Cito thanked Bach for his kind words.

"We are truly proud of this wonderful surprise, and we are even more happy to have received it right here, in the home of the taekwondo Olympic athletes: this is the beating heart of our sport where all the sacrifices and joys, defeats and victories converge, where everything is lived through the five-circle values.

"For us, welcoming these athletes in difficulty ‘into the family’, before a necessary act was a natural gesture and for this we can only refer to the fundamental values of the Olympic Spirit.

"The meaning of the THF Italia foundation is precisely this, to give hope through sport to those who have not had the same opportunities in life."