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Wolf from Siberia chosen as mascot for 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia

By The Siberian Times reporter
22 October 2016

Tomsk student Ekaterina Bocharova, 21, wins competition against rival cat and tiger designs.

'I am sure Zabivaka will be a massive hit among fans at the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 and the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. Picture: FIFA

The wolf named Zabivaka scored 53% of the votes, with a Siberian tiger the runner up 27%. While no World Cup games will be played in Siberia - with Yekaterinburg in the Urals the most easterly venue - it was Tomsk student Ekaterina Bocharova who triumphed with her mascot design. 

Dog-owner and student designer Ekaterina said: 'I had no doubt that I'll draw a wolf. There was no doubt about this animal.' Her wolf 'radiates fun, charm and confidence', said FIFA.

She attends Tomsk State University's graphic design college. The name Zabivaka suitably hints at 'the one who scores' in Russian.

'I am sure Zabivaka will be a massive hit among fans at the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 and the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia,' said sports minister and deputy premier, Vitaly Mutko, chairman of the Local Organising Committee for the tournament. 

FIFA 2018


Wolf

'Millions of Russian football fans took part in the vote and this means Zabivaka will do a worthy job representing our country around the world.' Picture: FIFA

He attended the live TV show that crowned the wolf. 'His role goes far beyond simply being popular among spectators,' he said.

'Our mascot is tasked with inspiring supporters, getting the wider population involved in football and inviting them to the stadiums in order to experience memorable and positive emotions. 

'Millions of Russian football fans took part in the vote and this means Zabivaka will do a worthy job representing our country around the world.'

FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura said: 'To get to the stage of seeing the wolf chosen today, we first collected the preferences of Russian kids through an online poll. 

Ekaterina Bocharova and wolf


Екатерина Бочарова

Ekaterina Bocharova, 21, attends Tomsk State University's graphic design college. Pictures: Social media

'Based on those ideas, university students submitted their designs and now the public have chosen their favourite character from among the final three.

'Eighteen months after kicking-off this project, we are extremely happy that the 2018 mascot is the result of a team effort where the Russian people demonstrated their creative flair and their strong commitment to putting on a successful FIFA World Cup.'

Appearing alongside the three contenders on the Channel 1 show was Brazilian football legend and two-time FIFA World Cup winner Ronaldo, who said: 'Mascots are great ambassadors for promoting the event and bring so much joy to the stadiums. 

'I can see it happening already in Russia with Zabivaka just by seeing him on stage tonight. He will surely be remembered for a very long time by football fans all over the world.'

Mascot FIFA 2018

'Our mascot is tasked with inspiring supporters, getting the wider population involved in football and inviting them to the stadiums in order to experience memorable and positive emotions. Picture: FIFA

Key characteristics of this wolf are that he is 'charming, confident and social - and has always dreamt of becoming a football star'. FIFA said 'his favourite sporting pastime is playing football. 

'He is a fair player, values his team members and respects his opponents, and he plays with skill and purpose. He is always fun to be around - as the joker in the pack, he knows how to make others laugh.

'He has taken to wearing cool sports glasses when he~s in action; he believes they give him special targeting powers on the pitch. And he loves to pose for photos!'

While no World Cup games will be played in Siberia - with Yekaterinburg in the Urals the most easterly venue - it was Tomsk student Ekaterina Bocharova who triumphed with her mascot design. Picture: The Siberian Times

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Comments (4)

This design also makes me think of these beautiful and brave Siberian Husky (like Togo and Balto). It is a good choice.
Jocelyne, FRANCE
25/10/2016 15:30
3
0
Good choice, a really wonderful looking mascot, and what a "wolfy" young lady. :)
Does anyone remember the London 2012 Olympics mascot, a pyramid shaped one-eyed "all-seeing-eye" mascot... actually the whole London Olympics was full of subliminal occult symbolism, while the Russian FIFA Cup mascot as well as the Sochi winter Olympics was much more innocent, hinting us about the hidden hand controlling and manufacturing all the stuff we are seeing and hearing throughout news, entertainment and sports etc. in the USSR v2.0, eg. that being the Western world.
Vaeltaja, Finland
23/10/2016 03:44
5
1
Congratulations to the winner and the mascot selection. Also a special appreciation to all who entered the mascot competition as well. All are beautiful.
Arthur Boyko, Lakeport MI USA
23/10/2016 03:24
10
0
Il est très sympathique ce loup ! Félicitations pour Ekaterina
He promotes football and also wild animals in Russia . Very important to protect wild life in the world.
Jocelyne, FRANCE
22/10/2016 21:38
10
1
1

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