Tokyo Olympics: No Chinese sponsors as Indian contingent to don unbranded apparel
The Indian contingent is likely to be 190-athlete strong for the Tokyo Olympics, slated to be held between July 23 to August 8. Meanwhile, the athletes would be wearing unbranded apparels due to the backlash over Chinese sponsors.
The Indian contingent is getting ready for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, scheduled to begin on July 23. The Indian Olympic Association has affirmed that it would aim at sending a 190-athlete strong contingent.
Ahead of the same, the IOA also launched the official kit and apparels for the global event. While the design was applauded, it received backlash over its Chinese sponsor, Li Ning.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday evening, the IOA decided not to go ahead with the Chinese sponsors, while the entire Indian contingent would be wearing unbranded apparels. "We are aware of the emotions of our fans and we in an IOA have decided that we will withdraw from our existing contract with an apparel sponsor. Our athletes, coaches, and support staff, will wear unbranded apparel," said Dr Narinder Batra (IOA President) and Rajeev Mehta (Secretary General) in a statement, reports ANI.
"We are thankful for guidance by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in making this decision and we would like our athletes to be able to train and compete without having to answer questions about the apparel brand. As it is, they have all been challenged by the pandemic over the past year and a quarter and we want them to not be distracted," they added.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports had advised the IOA against having Chinese sponsors over the current sentiments by the Indians. Also, since the time is too short to rope in a new sponsor, the Indians will have to don unbranded apparels, while a new sponsor would be roped in the coming months to generate funds. As for the sponsor, India has a long-standing relationship with Li Ning.
Since last year, the Indo-China relations have taken a hit after the Chinese soldiers allegedly invaded some parts of the Indian territory and tried to claim it. Furthermore, China has been in the bad books of the world, as it is apparently held responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, with reports stating the coronavirus was produced as a bio-weapon in a laboratory at Wuhan.
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