Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov.25
Baku 2015 European Games has today unveiled Jeyran (gazelle) and Nar (pomegranate) as the exciting official mascots for the inaugural sporting event.
Inspired by Azerbaijani nature and heritage, Jeyran and Nar reflect both the country's proud history and promising future. The pair will symbolize the first European Games around the world as they feature on branding to promote Baku 2015.
"We are extremely happy to introduce Jeyran and Nar to the world, and we hope that they will come to represent the excitement of the inaugural European Games," said Azad Rahimov, Azerbaijan's Minister of Youth and Sport and Chief Executive Officer of Baku 2015.
"As symbols of Baku 2015, they will inspire, excite and entertain a new generation of sports fans in Azerbaijan and will be visible around the city and the country in the coming months."
Jeyran will become the cultural ambassador of the Games, offering visitors a glimpse into Azeribaijan's rich heritage. From high up in the Caucasus mountains to the shores of the Caspian Sea, Jeyran likes guiding visitors around the country and showing them all that Azerbaijan has to offer.
Jeyran, the Azerbaijani word for gazelle, is a symbol in the country of natural beauty, grace and purity. The gazelle is a protected species in Azerbaijan.
Nar is a sun loving, playful pomegranate who grew up outside of the city of Goychay. Full of life and energy, Nar loves participating in new sports and will be getting involved with the European Games action.
The pomegranate symbolizes unity in Azerbaijani folklore, and features heavily in the colorful Baku 2015 branding already displayed extensively around the city.
"Our mascots are important symbols of the inaugural European Games and we are delighted to be welcoming them to the Baku 2015 family," said Simon Clegg, Baku 2015 Chief Operating Officer.
"Jeyran will be an elegant cultural ambassador for the Games and for the rich heritage of Azerbaijan. Nar represents the energy, enthusiasm and fun of the Games and will be seen explaining and getting involved with the sports at our venues."
"We wanted to help bring the European Games to life in a playful and colorful way, and we hope that Jeyran and Nar will become popular across all of Azerbaijan as we look forward to hosting Europe's elite athlete here at Baku 2015," said Charlie Wijeratna, Baku 2015 Commercial Director.
"The mascots have started life as flat illustrations, but will soon be animated, and of course transformed in three dimensions to form a part of the merchandising of the European Games."
Baku 2015 is the first ever European Games, an exciting and innovative multi-sport event for the continent which will take place from 12 - 28 June 2015.
There will be a total of 20 sports at Baku 2015: 16 Olympic sports and four non-Olympic sports. More than 6,000 athletes from across Europe will be representing their nations over 17 days of competition.
Eleven of the sports will offer qualification opportunities for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Those sports include Archery, Athletics, Boxing, Cycling, Shooting, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Triathlon, Wrestling and Volleyball.
Baku was awarded the Games by the European Olympic Committees (EOC) in December 2012. The Baku European Games Operations Committee (BEGOC) will organise and run the Games in co-operation with the EOC.