Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Sport and Community Development, Shamfa Cudjoe, and representatives of the Local Organising Committee, today unveiled the mascot design for the Trinbago 2023 Commonwealth Youth Games, at a celebration to mark Commonwealth Day.
The event at the Rootsyard, at the Trinidad Theater Workshop in St Clair, Trinidad, was attended by the British High Commissioner, Harriet Cross, and representatives of the Embassies of Jamaica and India. As well as being the first to see the Games mascot, people attending the event were able to learn more about Trinbago 2023, while enjoying themed games, quizzes and crafts.
The mascot, Cocoyea the leatherback turtle, is based on a design by local, young artist Djibril Annisette, from Port of Spain, who was the winner of a competition run for schoolchildren in Trinidad and Tobago. Inspired by eight-year-old Djibril’s winning entry, designers created the final artwork, which will now be brought to life, becoming one of the most recognisable faces of the Games.
The concept behind Djibril’s design is that, just like the tough, flexible spine of the coconut frond, Cocoyea, represents resilience in the face of difficulty. Its strong flippers serve to sweep away divisive elements, while simultaneously enveloping all citizens in a warm and unifying space. The leatherback turtle is important to Trinidad and Tobago for its ecological, economic, and cultural significance. What’s more, the mascot’s back, or shell, depicts elements of the national instrument, the pan, another important part of the country’s DNA.
The Honourable Minister of Sport and Community Development, Shamfa Cudjoe, said: “I am delighted to be here with colleagues from across the Commonwealth to celebrate Commonwealth Day, in this Year of Youth when we are hosting the Commonwealth Youth Games. We are working on delivering a spectacular staging of the Games – one that will be an inspiration for young people across the Commonwealth and a wonderful showcase of our beautiful islands.
“I am particularly thrilled to have the honour of unveiling Cocoyea, the mascot for Trinbago 2023, and applaud the creativity of eight year old Djibril Annisette, a brilliant student of the British Academy. Cocoyea perfectly reflects the spirit of the Games and the eclectic culture of Trinidad and Tobago.”
The 7th Commonwealth Youth Games will be held across both islands from 4-11 August. It will feature a sporting programme of Aquatics (Swimming), Athletics and Para Athletics, Cycling (Road and Track), Triathlon, FAST5 Netball, Rugby Sevens and Beach Volleyball. Emerging athletes aged 14-18 will be joining from across the Commonwealth’s 72 nations and territories.
Diane Henderson, Trinidad and Tobago Commonwealth Games Association President, said: “Cocoyea, Djibril’s wonderful interpretation of a leatherback turtle, is set to be one of the stars of the Games. Just as the leatherback turtle comes from all over the world to our beaches, so too are all the visitors coming to our shores. It aptly reflects the people of Trinidad and Tobago’s hospitable nature, a sense of fun and love of sport. We can’t wait to see the energy, enthusiasm and enjoyment Cocoyea will bring, during and in the lead-up to Trinbago 2023.”