Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill and Richard Whitehead MBE are teaming up with iconic BBC children’s television show Blue Peter to launch the official mascot design competition for this summer’s IAAF World Championships in London.
London 2012 heptathlon champion Ennis-Hill and two-time Paralympic sprint gold medallist Whitehead will run the rule over all entries as part of a judging panel with representatives from London 2017 Ltd, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the IAAF and Blue Peter on the lookout for two mascot designs – one for each championships.
Announced on 19th January live on Blue Peter, the competition gives participants aged 6-15 the chance to submit their designs until the closing date of Friday February 10, with the best ten entries from three age groups selected to go before a second round of judging.
As well as seeing their designs come to life and getting the chance to meet their creations along with a competing athlete, the lucky winner will receive four tickets to a session at either championships, a VIP tour of the London Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, a framed photo of the finished mascots and a Blue Peter orange competition badge.
The winner will be revealed live on Blue Peter on Thursday April 20 and judge Ennis-Hill, who will receive a Damehood as part of the 2017 New Year’s Honours list, is relishing an altogether different challenge to the one she faced on the track.
“I’m so excited to be part of the judging panel for the London 2017 mascot design competition”
“It was a tough decision to end my career after Rio, but then it’s lovely to have the opportunity to be involved in making this year’s world championships a success.
“I think it is great the organisers are asking children to design the mascots and as a mum I love the idea of youngsters becoming part of the championships by designing the mascots.
“I remember watching Blue Peter when I was younger and I have great memories of how their competitions seemed really exciting. I hope that I can help choose a design that will become an iconic face of the championships.”
Whitehead, who is already a three-time world gold medallist in the T42 200m, believes his role as a judge adds to the excitement of this year’s championships.
“I love the idea of running at a championships knowing I’ve been part of the creation of the mascot,” he said.
“As a dad I think London 2017 offers so much for families. Great ticket prices, a really family-orientated atmosphere and lots of great role models for children to watch – as well as world-class athletics.
“Children are so creative and I’ve no doubt the Blue Peter competition will come up with two great mascots for athletes and spectators to engage with.”
Championship director for London 2017, Niels de Vos, said: “Blue Peter has been an inspiration to kids for generations, just as our top athletes like Jess and Richard have been. Hosting both championships in London in the same year for the first ever time gives us the chance to inspire a new generation.
“We have priced children’s tickets to ensure they are very affordable, and created a number of exciting initiatives such as our Bolt ticket for £9.58 based on Usain’s current 100m world record and our London schools offer for the World Para Athletics Championships, which gives 250,000 schoolchildren access to a special discounted package. The mascot design competition will allow every child in the country the chance to be engaged even if they are not able to attend the event.”
Further information on how to enter the mascot competition can be found at london2017athletics.com/mascots.
The World Para Athletics Championships run from July 14-23 at the London Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, with the IAAF World Championships following at the same venue from August 4-13 to mark the biggest sporting event of the year.
It is the first time both championships have been held in the same city in the same summer, with over 3000 athletes from over 200 nations competing over 20 days of action. Tickets are now on sale at tickets.london2017athletics.com.