"Thousands" of students have participated in the mascot design competition ©Lima 2019

Schoolchildren in Lima have participated in a competition to design mascots for the 2019 Pan and Parapan American Games.

Primary and secondary school students from across the Peruvian capital took part in the project, organisers said, with entries closing last Tuesday May 30.

They were encouraged to draw designs based on the "positive elements of the historical, natural and cultural identity of Lima", making reference to an "animal, plant, person, animated object or anything else related to the host city".

A shortlist of three mascots is due to be announced tomorrow. 

The winner will then be decided via a popular vote on the Lima 2019 website.

It forms part of an attempt to increase local interest in the regional Games.

Entries will be judged by a panel consisting of representatives from Lima 2019, the Municipal Government and local universities.

Bruno Giuffra was sworn in as the new Peruvian Minister of Transport and Communications, responsible for overseeing preparation from the Government side.

It followed the resignation last month of his predecessor Martin Vizcarra, shortly before he was due to face a vote of no confidence in Congress.

Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has expressed his full support for Lima 2019 ©Getty Images
Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has expressed his full support for Lima 2019 ©Getty Images

He was being investigated for his involvement in handling contracts to develop Chinchero International Airport in the Cusco Region of the country.

Organisers are working hard to resolve problems relating to preparations raised at April's Pan American Sports Organization General Assembly in Punte del Este in Uruguay. 

These include construction issues and a lack of sponsors, as well as the structure and leadership of the Organising Committee.

insidethegames was told that key PASO officials were not aware who was responsible for specific issues.

Lima 2019 have now confirmed that Mariana Mendoza is responsible for medical matters, while the head of technology is Helmuth Jara. 

They revealed that Raul Risso has held the position of marketing director since February 2017 and is in charge of merchandising and marketing rights.

"Lima 2019 are in the advanced stages of negotiations with four candidates over tier one sponsorship deals as well as negotiating tier two and official supplier deals," a spokesperson added.

On Vizcarra's resignation, they added: "We respect his decision to resign but are disappointed to see him go after the support he has given us.

"The Lima 2019 Pan American and Parapan American Games are a commitment that the country has made and for that reason we will continue to move forward with the total support of President [Pedro Pablo] Kuczynski and his Government."

The Pan American Games are due to take place from July 26 until August 11 in 2019.

It will be followed by the Parapan American Games from August 23 until September 1.