Yekaterinburg 2023 have announced a shortlist of mascot designs ©Yekaterinburg 2023

Yekaterinburg 2023 has announced 12 characters have been shortlisted to become the mascot for the Summer World University Games.

An online survey was launched on December 25 to determine the 12 candidates, with the public voting for their favourite options.

Organisers revealed that 68,278 people voted during the first stage of the mascot selection process.

A brown bear, reindeer, raccoon dog, black stork, sable, wolf, fox and elk were all among the shortlisted entries.

A wild boar and a lizard were also shortlisted, along with collective images from the Russian fairy tale "Silver Hoof" and of malachite, a symbol of the Ural region.

Votes were cast in Russian airports and popular public places in Yekaterinburg, according to organisers.

Partenope was the mascot for the 2019 event in Naples ©Naples 2019
Partenope was the mascot for the 2019 event in Naples ©Naples 2019

Student designers at Russian art universities will now be tasked with creating designs from the shortlisted candidates.

A deadline of March 31 has been set for the designs to be created.

The three best characters will be selected by a jury, comprised of well-known art and cultural experts from Yekaterinburg.

These designs will be turned into three dimensional models by animators.

The mascot for the World University Games will then be decided by a public vote due to take place until May 31.

The 2023 edition of the Summer World University Games is scheduled for August 8 to 19, with athletes set to compete in 18 sports.