antiago 2023 has unveiled "Fiu" as the official mascot for the next Pan American Games after seeing off four other contenders in a public vote.

Fiu is inspired by the seven-coloured rush tyrant, also known as Tachuris rubrigastra, which is native to South America and commonly found in the wetlands of Chile.

The other nominees were also species native to Chile as Chitama, the running lizard, Pewü, the pine seed, Juanchi, the penguin, and Santi, a mythical winged mountain puma, fell short against Fiu.

Santiago 2023 believes Fiu’s colours represent the "diversity of human beings and especially athletes" as they signify "strength", "perseverance", "respect", "determination", "honesty", "companionship" and "passion".

"Wow, Fiu is such a nice bird that will show us that being small does not mean you cannot give it your best effort," said Felipe De Pablo, executive director for Santiago 2023.

"For this reason, he continues to practice each of the 38 Pan American sports and 17 Parapan American sports that are part of the event's competition programme."

The announcement of the mascot came at a two-year countdown event as excitement builds for the Pan American Games, due to take place from October 20 to November 5 in 2023.

Chilean Sports Minister and Santiago 2023 President Cecilia Perez said the entire country will continue to work diligently to deliver the Games.

"We are on the verge of experiencing an unparalleled sporting milestone," said Perez.

"We are working without hesitation and at full speed to meet our established deadlines so that the biggest sports festival in the Americas is an unforgettable event for Chile and can be considered as the best Pan American and Parapan American Games in history.

"Santiago 2023 will be the most important event in history for sports in our country.

"Today we celebrate that there are just over two years to go before the start of the Games, two years where we will have to work to the best of our abilities not only to comply with the organisational standards, but also to spread throughout Chile the relevance of hosting an event with 41 countries and almost 10,000 athletes."

Panam Sports President Neven Ilic attended the special ceremony remotely where he applauded the selection of Fiu.

"The Pan American Games represent a great dream that all of us involved in sport have had for many years," added Ilic.

"And we are two years away from this reality, a reality that should generate a change, that should generate hope for the future of sport in Chile which improves and continues to grow every day."

The Chilean capital is also scheduled to host the Parapan American Games from November 17 to 25 2023.

Ricardo Elizalde, head of the Chilean Paralympic Committee (COPACHI) said "every step we take towards Santiago 2023 fills us with emotion and reminds us of the great challenge that we face."

He added: "The Parapan American and Pan American Games in Santiago will be a great celebration of sport and inclusion,” said Elizalde.

"We, at COPACHI and with Team ParaChile, are giving it our all to arrive at this event prepared in the best way possible."

Americas Paralympic Committee President Julio Cesar Avila added: "I am happy to be part of this great event.

"Today is a very important day in which we are celebrating the two-year countdown to the Santiago 2023 Games which will be the largest sporting event in the region and where they will have the opportunity to see the best athletes and Para athletes of the Americas breaking their own records."