Olympics: India abandons Chinese jersey sponsors before the Tokyo Olympics | Olympic News
The Indian Olympic Organization stated that after the border conflict between the two countries last year, the decision was related to public sentiment.
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) used the country’s public sentiment as an excuse to abandon Chinese sportswear manufacturer Li Ning as its official equipment partner and stated that its athletes will wear unbranded clothing at the Tokyo Olympics.
Since 20 Indian soldiers were killed in clashes with the Chinese army in a border dispute in the Himalayas last year, Chinese companies have faced strong opposition in India.
At that time, the IOA decided to review the cooperation with Li Ning, which will expire after the Tokyo Olympics.
It launched the Olympic equipment six days ago, but said late on Tuesday that it had terminated the association out of respect for “the feelings of the people of the country.”
IOA Chairman Nalind Batra and Secretary-General Rajiv Mehta said in a statement: “We understand the emotions of the fans, and we…decided to withdraw from the existing contract with the apparel sponsor.”
“Our athletes, coaches and support staff will wear unbranded clothing.”
An Indian representative for Li Ning could not be immediately reached for comment.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said in a speech in Beijing: “We hope that India can view the regular cooperation between countries in an objective and fair manner and avoid politicizing the problem.”
IOA stated that it does not want the question of who makes the uniforms to be distracting.
“We hope our athletes can train and compete without answering questions about clothing brands,” it added.
“In fact, in the past year and one quarter, they have all been challenged by the pandemic, and we hope that they will not be distracted.”
IOA stated that it made this decision under the guidance of the Ministry of Sports.
“The ministry and everyone else agree on this issue,” Bartra, the head of the International Hockey Federation (FIH), IOA, told Reuters by phone.
IOA is racing to find new sponsors.
“The kit is ready, just put the logo on it. We are looking for another sponsor, but time is very limited,” Bartra added.