By Duncan Mackay

Nanjing 2014 mascotNovember 29 - A design based on a pebble has today been unveiled as the mascot of the 2014 Summer Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing. 

Chinese officials claim that NANJINGLELE is inspired by a unique natural feature of the host city known as the "Rain-Flower Pebble" - also translated as "Riverstone". 

The design of the mascot takes the typical shape and appearance of this stone but in a creative and artistic way, highlighting the colours from the emblem's palette, they said.

The word "Lele" represents the sound of stones colliding together and is pronounced like the Chinese word meaning happiness or joy.

The mascot was unveiled at a grand ceremony held at the Nanjing Olympic Centre, one of the main competition venues for the upcoming Games.

More than 4,000 people, including students, locals, Government officials and sponsor representatives, attended the event.

The mascot was unviled by swimmer Sun Yang, winner of the 400 and 1500 metres freestyle at London 2012, gymnast Huang Xu, a member of China's squad that won gold in the team event at Sydney 2000 and Beijing 2008, and taekwondo player Wu Jingyu, -49 kilogram champion at Beijing and London.

Rain flower pebblesNanjing 2014 mascot NANJINGLELE is based upon Rain Flower pebbles, a unique local product of the area

"The design of NANJINGLELE is truly inspiring and will certainly capture the attention of the world's youth and older generations alike," International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said in a letter read out at the ceremony.

"Not only does it incorporate aspects of the host city's majestic local stone, the Riverstone, but it is bright and vibrant and sets the tone for a fun, colourful and energetic YOG."

The mascot was chosen following a nationwide design competition launched by Nanjing 2014 earlier this year. 

More than 1.2 million students from more than 900 colleges across China took part.

During the event, Cao Weixing, the Vice Governor of Jiangsu Province and vice-president of Nanjing 2014, presented an award to the winning designer 25-year-old Cui Xinye, a college student.

"Mascot NANJINGLELE represents the profound cultural deposit of Nanjing, the collective wisdom of its people and the good wish of a harmonious relationship between human beings and the nature," said Li Xueyong, the Governor of Jangsu Provice and President of Nanjing 2014. 

The mascots for the inaugural Summer Youth Olympics in Singapore in 2010 were Lyo and Merly, a fire-themed lion and a water-themed female merlion respectively, while Innsbruck chose a lederhosen wearing chamois named Yoggl for the first Winter Youth Olympics held earlier this year. 

Usain Bolt with Singapore 2010 mascotsUsain Bolt was a fan of the Singapore 2010 mascots Lyo and Merly

"As a messenger of the Nanjing 2014 concept and the Youth Olympic spirit, NANJINGLELE will win numerous friends all over the world with its cute and vivid look," said Yang Weize, the general secretary of Communist Party of China Municipal Committee and Executive President of Nanjing 2014.

"It simultaneously sends an invitation to all the young people around the world to take part in Nanjing 2014 and to join in the YOG experience wherever they are."

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