NEW DELHI: The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has dropped Chinese sportswear maker Li Ning as an official kits partner citing public sentiment in the country, saying its athletes will wear unbranded clothing at the Tokyo Games instead.
Chinese companies have faced a backlash in India since 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a clash with Chinese forces in a border dispute with the Himalayas last year.
The AIO then decided to review its partnership with Li Ning, which was due to expire after the Tokyo Games.
He unveiled an Olympic kit made by the Chinese company just six days ago, but said Tuesday evening that he ended the association out of respect for the “feelings of the people of the country.”
“We are aware of the emotions of our fans and we (…) have decided to withdraw from our existing contract with a clothing sponsor,” IOA President Narinder Batra and General Secretary Rajeev Mehta said in a statement. communicated.
“Our athletes, coaches and support staff will be wearing unbranded clothing.”
Li Ning’s representatives in India were not immediately available for comment.
The IOA said it didn’t want the question of who made the uniforms to be a distraction.
“We would like our athletes to be able to train and compete without having to answer questions about the clothing brand,” he added.
“As it is, they have all been challenged by the pandemic in the past year and a quarter and we want them not to be distracted.” – Reuters