Hannah England with Ruby the Red Panda, the mascot for the IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018 (LOC) © Copyright
General News Birmingham, UK

Ruby the Red Panda revealed as official mascot for IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018

Ruby the Red Panda, the official mascot for the IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018, was unveiled on Tuesday (27) with the help of 2011 world 1500m silver medallist Hannah England.

Ruby made her first ever appearance at the Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park, which is just a few miles from Arena Birmingham, the venue for the championships which will be held in the city next year from 1-4 March.

The park was chosen as the ideal setting for Ruby’s unveiling as it is home to three red pandas, two adults, Mo and Amba, and their 11-month-old daughter Mambo. The Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park breeds and protects the red pandas and has done since 2005, when one of the new arrivals, Babu, famously went missing for four days, before being found and returned to his enclosure. He was later named ‘Brummie of The Year’.

Championships director Joan Durose explained why a red panda had been selected as the official mascot. “By having a red panda as our mascot, we hope to increase the profile of these beautiful animals and help raise awareness of the fabulous work that Birmingham’s very own Wildlife Conservation Park does to help protect them.

“Ruby gets her name from the gemstone, because of her sparking personality and as a nod to the city’s famous Jewellery Quarter, as we’re keen to use Birmingham’s hosting of this major sporting championship as an opportunity to highlight some of the exciting visitor attractions that the city has to offer.”

Hannah England, who lives and trains in Birmingham and has won national titles indoors and out, said: “It’s so exciting to help launch Ruby the Red Panda, the official mascot for the IAAF World Indoor Championships. Mascots are a great way of getting young people excited about the event, and athletics events attract a family audience, so it is really important to appeal to people of all ages. Ruby is wonderful and I’m sure she is going to attract a lot of attention over the next few months.

“It is going to be a very busy summer of athletics but come September athletes will be turning their attention to the indoor season. Having the IAAF World Indoor Championships in the city where I'm based is going to provide me with lots of extra motivation to train hard over the winter.”

Ruby will make her first public appearance at the World Championships Team Trials, which will be held at the Alexander Stadium on 1-2 July. England will be competing at this event, with the 1500m heats due to take place on Saturday.

Tickets for the IAAF World Indoor Championships will go on public sale later in the year.

LOC for the IAAF