Frowsy Champsy? - Manager claims malice
CHAMPSY, the mascot for Boys and Girls' Champs, has come in for criticism from members of the public, who have questioned the hygiene of the costume and potential health hazard of constantly embracing athletes and other persons over five days in the searing sun.
"People were asking how often he (Champsy) is washed, how many outfits he has and how many times he changes his outfit," a spectator at Champs told STAR Sports yesterday, raising hygiene concerns about the mascot, which was created for Champs 2011, depicting a schoolboy in athletic gear.
Richard Bowen, managing director of Laribo Marketing, which manages Champsy, told STAR Sports the company has plans to change the costume next year but it has nothing to do with questions which have arisen about his general hygiene.
Bowen countered claims of the mascot being "frowsy", as reported by some patrons. He said Champsy is dry cleaned immediately after the event every year and is also disinfected daily during the five-day championships.
He pointed out that such claims were disingenuous, saying there were periods in which the mascot's costume was rested to provide for cleansing.
"I find that strange because what we do with Champsy, right after Champs, he goes right to the dry cleaners and then we have the disinfectant that we use every day during the course of the day so, for persons to say that, I find that very disingenuous," he said.
Bowen suggested that the comments may be rooted in a rift between Champsy and photographers who he accused of abusing the mascot, played by fifth and sixth-form students from various high schools, adding that the boys work out a shift basis.
"I hope it is not something being said to cover something else. The persons at the finish line, over the years, are really in denial that Champsy is part and parcel of Champs.
Just like World Championships and Olympics, the mascot is always in the shot (photo) so when Champsy was created and developed it was developed for that particular purpose, but what I find is that they would try to abuse him," said Bowen.
"If you look back at the tapes of all the years he would be there with all the athletes coming through. If he was scruffy and smelling bad nobody would want to take any photos," he said.