Today sees the launch of Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games nationwide search to find a ‘MASCOT MAKER’, and wouldn’t it be great if it was your child here in South Wales who won? Not only will they get to design the official mascot for the Games but win themselves (and maybe they’ll take you along) tickets to the Opening Ceremony.

It’s open to children aged 5 to 15 from across the UK, and this is very much about using their incredible imaginations, something they’ve become very good at during lockdown. They need to create their own Birmingham 2022 mascot which reflects the identity, heritage, and culture of the West Midlands, and embodies everything the region stands for: youthfulness, diversity, dynamism and creativity. 

Olympic and Commonwealth gold medallist Denise Lewis OBE and TV Presenter Radzi Chinyanganya launched the competition after hosting world’s first Virtual Mascot Summit.

The entries that best reflect these attributes will inspire the official Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games mascot, which will be seen by over one billion people, and will become an iconic symbol for the region in the run up to and during the Games. 

President of Commonwealth Games England and former Olympic heptathlete, Denise Lewis OBE, told us more about the competition…..

“This is a fantastic opportunity for children to create a lasting legacy for Birmingham 2022 which will be recognised around the world. I was born and bred in the West Midlands, and as a parent I’m excited to get behind the search for a mascot and encourage families to take part.

Denise Lewis

“I’ve seen some fantastic mascots during my athletics career, so the bar is set pretty high for Birmingham 2022, but I’m confident that children across the country can create something spectacular that will become an icon for the Games and inspire future generations.”

So let SOUTH WALES LIFE give you a few pointers to help your kids create the winning mascot.

The West Midlands is actually a metropolitan county in Western-Central England, it pretty much says that in its name. There’s a lot of people living there, in fact 700,000 more than the entire population of South Wales – 2,916,458, to be precise. Which makes it the second most populous county in England after Greater London.

The county consists of seven metropolitan boroughs: the City of Birmingham, the City of Coventry and the City of Wolverhampton, as well as the boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull and Walsall.

Although the county has only been around since 1974, the settlements of the West Midlands have long been important centres of commerce and industry as well as developing a good local infrastructure. Coventry was one of England’s most important cities during the Middle Ages, with its prosperity built upon wool and cloth manufacture. Birmingham and Wolverhampton have a tradition of industry dating back to the 16th century, when small metal-working industries developed. Birmingham was known for its manufacture of small arms, whereas Wolverhampton became a centre of lock manufacture and brass working.

The coal and iron ore deposits of the Black Country area provided a ready source of raw materials. The area grew rapidly during the Industrial Revolution, and by the 20th century had grown into one large conurbation. Coventry was slower to develop, but by the early 20th century, it had become an important centre of bicycle and car manufacturing.

As for West Midlands sport, in many ways they are very like us here in South Wales. They have so much on their doorstep and they are wildly passionate about all of it.

In Rugby Union, they have the Wasps RFC, Birmingham Barbarians, Sutton Coldfield RFC, Moseley Rugby Football Club, Birmingham & Solihull RFC, and Coventry RFC.

In Rugby League, there’s the Coventry Bears who are the only team from the county playing professionally, currently in the third tier League 1.

And football, where do you begin? there are six Premier League and Football League teams in the county of which two, Aston Villa and Wolverhampton Wanderers, play in the Premier League. The following clubs are often referred to as the West Midlands “Big Six”:

ClubLeagueCity/townStadiumCapacity
Wolverhampton WanderersPremier LeagueWolverhamptonMolineux31,700
Aston VillaPremier LeagueBirminghamVilla Park42,788
Birmingham CityChampionshipBirminghamSt Andrew’s30,079
West Bromwich AlbionChampionshipWest BromwichThe Hawthorns26,500
Coventry CityLeague OneCoventryRicoh Arena32,609
WalsallLeague TwoWalsallBescot Stadium11,300

West Midlands sport is as diverse and inclusive as the population, all of which could reflect in your ideas for a mascot.

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to put the city, the region and its people on the global stage.   

The Games is already proving to be a catalyst for transformation across the West Midlands, attracting new investment and funding, creating jobs and apprenticeships for local people and new opportunities for local businesses, as well as accelerating projects that will ensure the region is ready to host a fantastic sports and cultural celebration.   

Birmingham 2022 will be the Games for everyone, bringing people together from across Birmingham and the region, to provide a warm welcome to millions of visitors during the summer of 2022.  

The Games start on the 28th July and run through until 8th August 2022. To find out more about them, and get yourself a little more inspiration, go here. GAMES

It may seem like a long way off, but the countdown has already begun.

Looking back at the mascots of previous Commonwealth Games, they have typically been an animal or creature native to the area, or occasionally human figures who represent the cultural heritage of the home nation or city of the Commonwealth Games.

The first Commonwealth Games Mascot was for the 1978 Games in Edmonton, a bear called Keyano. It was over 30 years ago remember.

As the Official Mascot of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, Borobi the Koala played a key role in welcoming athletes, getting supporters excited and bringing to life the true spirit of the event. As you can see from the picture, Borobi had a personality all of his own which reflected the Games positive core message – Share the Dream. 

He was fun, approachable, determined, passionate and active.

Exactly 1,000 days before the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games, Glasgow 2014 launched a UK-wide design competition with CBBC’s Blue Peter and BBC Radio Scotland’s MacAulay & Co for a young person to design the Glasgow 2014 Official Mascot. 

The winning design was chosen for its Scottish symbolism, its Glaswegian charm and likeability and its adaptability to be developed into a memorable figure for engagement, legacy and merchandise projects. The winner of the competition was a 12-year-old girl from a town in North Lanarkshire, Scotland. 

The Glasgow Official Mascot was called Clyde and his design is based on Scotland’s national flower– the thistle, which is instantly recognised throughout the Commonwealth as a Scottish emblem. Clyde’s character stayed true to Scotland’s symbol whilst injecting fun, and personality of its own; allowing Glasgow’s world-famous banter and personality to shine.

So, if you win the competition, your mascot will be an ambassador for the Games, welcoming athletes and visitors to the host city, and bringing excitement to supporters on the field of play.

The nationwide search to find a ‘Mascot Maker’ follows the staging of the world’s-first ‘Virtual Mascot Summit’, hosted by President of Commonwealth Games England and former Olympic heptathlete Denise Lewis OBE, alongside TV presenter Radzi Chinyanganya. 

The summit saw children from across Birmingham and the West Midlands take part in various tasks to help develop what the mascot looks like, as well as what its characteristics, values and movements should be. They were supported by elite athletes as part of the summit, including sprinter and para-athlete Katrina Hart, Team England basketball player Kofi Josephs and Commonwealth champion gymnast Dom Cunningham.

The summit marks the start of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games calling for children across the country to submit their own mascot designs. The best entries from three age categories will win tickets to the Commonwealth Games’ spectacular opening ceremony. 

Entries will be judged by a panel that includes Team England athletes Sarah-Jane Perry (squash), Katrina Hart (athletics) and Sarah Davies (weightlifting). The winning design will be brought to life by including the key personality traits and values that come from the Virtual Mascot Summit and will be used to create the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games’ official mascot, which will be revealed later this year. 

Katrina Hart

The competition is accompanied by exciting new teaching resources to encourage children to learn about the role of mascots in major sporting events before designing their own Birmingham 2022 creation.  

The Chief Executive of Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games is Ian Reid……. 

“Birmingham 2022 will embrace and champion youth, diversity, humanity and pride in the region and the Commonwealth, and we’re thrilled to invite children across the UK to create our mascot. 

“The Games will be a true celebration of world-class sport and culture and aims to leave a lasting positive impact. Our mascot will become an international icon for the Games, and this is a great opportunity for children, parents and teachers nationwide to take part to help us welcome the world to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.”

Chief Executive Officer at The Commonwealth Games Federation, David Grevemberg CBE, told us…… 

“This is a very exciting moment for Birmingham 2022. There have been some truly iconic Commonwealth Games mascots including at our most recent events with Glasgow 2014 featuring Clyde, the patriotic and adventurous thistle, and Gold Coast 2018 showcasing Borobi the koala, who is now working hard in Australia as an indigenous language champion!

“I have no doubt that children across the UK will create a fantastic Commonwealth Sport ambassador for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.”

TV presenter Radzi Chinyanganya, who grew up in Wolverhampton, said……

“The Birmingham 2022 mascot will be a celebration of the area’s rich and diverse culture and history, and I can’t wait for the world to find out what makes my home region so special. I’ve seen first hand how mascots can bring people together in sport, having been inside the mascot costume for many major sporting events in the past! I’m stepping out of the costume this time though and letting kids from all over the country take the lead in bringing the mascot to life and get people excited for Birmingham 2022.”

Radzi Chinyanganya

The mascot will play a leading role in fulfilling Birmingham 2022’s mission to bring people together, improve health and wellbeing, help the region to grow and succeed, be a catalyst for change, and place the region on the global stage.

So, you know more about the games, a lot more about the West Midlands, but what could a mascot look like. Richie Anderson has some ideas.

The mascot competition is accompanied by free downloadable teaching resources to encourage schools, teachers and parents currently home schooling to participate in the competition. 

The curriculum-aligned resources, which have been developed for Key Stage One, Key Stage Two and Key Stage Three pupils, provide information on the role of mascots at major international sporting events, the history of the Games, and the values of Birmingham 2022. 

To submit an entry or find more information about the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games mascot competition, including the entry form, teaching resources and the full terms & conditions, just go here. MASCOT The competition closes on Wednesday 5th August so get thinking and designing, and let’s get South Wales on the Birmingham 2022 map.

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