With couple of months to go until the start of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017, the Official Mascot of the tournament was revealed today at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
The Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, Vijay Goel, and the chairman of the Local Organizing Committee, Praful Patel were present in the ceremony to introduced the young and charismatic face of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017, a clouded leopard called Kheleo to hundreds of Indian football fans and media representatives.
The clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) is a wild cat occurring from the Himalayan foothills through mainland Southeast Asia into China. Since 2008, it is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Its total population is suspected to be fewer than 10,000 mature individuals, with a decreasing population trend, and no single population numbering more than 1,000 adults.
And to honor Kheleo’s first public appearance, the Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, Mr. Vijay Goel said in the ceremony, “We are sure that he will be one of the most memorable mascots a sporting event in India has ever seen. Kheleo is young, vibrant, enthusiastic and a perfect representation of our country. He will help us to involve kids with football in a fun way.”
And presenting the Official Mascot of the FIFA U17 World Cup, the chairman of the Local Organizing Committee, Mr. Praful Patel said, “Presenting Kheleo as the Official Mascot to the world is another big step for our event. As the face of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017, he will be going across the country to promote the tournament and to inspire kids and adults alike.”