The official mascots for this summer’s world athletics tournaments have been unveiled, and they were designed by a nine-year-old girl.
Elinor, from the West Midlands, won a Blue Peter competition to design the mascots for the World Para Athletics Championships and the IAAF World Championships which will both be held this summer at the London Stadium in the Olympic Park, Stratford.
In a bid to raise awareness about the decline of bees and hedgehogs around the UK, Elinor picked Whizbee the Bee and Hero the Hedgehog as the latest mascots for the sporting competitions.
Elinor said: “It is so exciting that my designs were chosen as the winner. I was so happy when I was told.
“I chose Whizbee and Hero because they are endangered species and are survivors.
“Bees are really important because they make the world go around and hedgehogs are determined and brave.
“It’s really cool getting them made into proper mascots. I can’t wait to see them in the summer.”
Elinor’s designs were picked as the winners by a judging panel made up from representatives from the Organising Committee, the International Paralympic Committee, the IAAF and Blue Peter, as well as Olympic champion Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill and double Paralympic gold medallist Richard Whitehead MBE.
Jessica Ennis-Hill said: “Having stepped away from the track, it was nice to be asked to be involved in this year’s World Championships a different way.
“I think Elinor’s reason for choosing a bee and hedgehog, and the fact that they are creatures in our everyday lives in Britain, made the designs stand out. Hopefully the mascots will bring a lot of fun and energy to the Championships.”
Richard Whitehead said: “It was difficult to choose the winner from the thousands of youngsters who entered designs through Blue Peter but Whizbee and Hero illustrate exactly what we were looking for.
“They are innovative, imaginative and bold and with a touching message that we need to do more to protect these species.
“Running at the Championships knowing I have played a part in something for athletes and spectators to engage with is really exciting and I can’t wait to celebrate success with Whizbee in July.”
Whizbee the Bee is the official mascot of the World Para Athletics Championships, which will be held from July 14 until July 23. In line with Elinor’s plans, organisers have selected an actor with a below the knee leg prosthetic to perform as the mascot.
Hero the Hedgehog will be the mascot for the IAAF World Championships, which will be held from August 4 until August 13.
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