Tokyo 2020: IOA drops kit sponsorship deal over anti-China sentiment

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Indian Olympic Association has dumped kit sponsorship deal for the Tokyo-bound contingent over anti-China sentiment.

Indian Athletes will wear unbranded apparel in Tokyo Olympics 2020.

Indian Olympic Association has dropped its kit sponsorship deal with the Chinese apparel brand. The decision, announced when the Games are less than seven weeks away, was influenced by the pan-India anti-China sentiment.

IOA, respecting the sentiments of the people of the country, has decided that the nation’s athletes would wear unbranded sports apparel in the Olympic Games to be held in Tokyo from July 23 to August 8, the association of sports federations in the country stated in a Press release.

“We are aware of the emotions of our fans and we in a IOA have decided that we will withdraw from our existing contract with an apparel sponsor,” reads a joint statement by IOA president Narinder Dhruv Batra and secretary-general Rajeev Mehta.

Our athletes, coaches and support staff, will wear unbranded apparel,” the duo added. “We are thankful for guidance by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in making this decision. “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 be not distracted.”

The IOA officials said “they were aware of the efforts by the nation’s elite athletes and their coaching and support staff and are looking forward to a good performance by them Olympic Games.

“We have had an excellent synergy in the ecosystem within IOA, National Sports Federations, Government and other stakeholders coming together as one.”

The IOA had first signed the deal with Li-Ning in May 2018. Besides the Tokyo Olympics, approximate ₹ 6 crore ($822,966) deal, had also covered the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games and the 2018 Olympic Youth Games.

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