New Delhi: With the Tokyo Olympics just days away from its much-anticipated kickoff, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) have withdrawn from their “existing contract with an apparel sponsor”, claiming that they were “respecting the sentiments of the people of the country”.
According to latest developments, India’s Tokyo-bound contingent will be displaying “unbranded apparel” during the Games next month.
In Tuesday’s joint statement, IOA president Narinder Batra and secretary general Rajeev Mehta did not reveal the name of the apparel sponsor. Sports minister Kiren Rijiju had unveiled India’s sporting and ceremonial kits last week, where it was announced that the official sports apparel sponsor was Chinese brand Li Ning.
In the above-mentioned statement, Narinder Dhruv Batra and Secretary General Rajeev Mehta said: “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.”
“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,” the statement further added.
The IOA officials further added that they were aware of the dedicated efforts by India’s elite athletes and the coaching and support staff and are looking forward watching a good display by them at the Olympic Games.
“We have had an excellent synergy in the ecosystem within IOA, National Sports Federations, Government and other stakeholders coming together as one,” Batra and Mehta said in their statement.