The union minister for Youth Affairs and Sports, Kiren Rijiju, announced on Wednesday that the Indian Olympic team will not be wearing any apparel or clothing during the forthcoming Olympics to be held in Tokyo. Li Ning is a Chinese sportswear company, that used to provide for India’s sports gear and attire. They have been dropped as the Indian athletes’ official Olympics gear sponsor.
Rijiju also stated that at the event, which is scheduled to begin on July 23, that only India will be written on athletes’ uniforms. “Athletes, coaches, and support personnel from India will not be wearing any branded clothing during the Tokyo Olympics. Only ‘INDIA’ shall be written on our athletes’ uniforms,” he tweeted.
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and Sunlight Sports (Brand Li Ning) had previously negotiated a deal to have the Indian Olympic team’s sports kitting handled locally by the Indian Olympic Association for Tokyo 2020. In light of the logistical issues that the IOA is facing as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown situation throughout the country, the arrangement was established with the athletes’ safety and convenience in mind.
An official release stated, “over 100 Indian athletes have qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The athletes are based in various states and cities of India in training camps; some of which are isolated bubbles, in preparation for the upcoming Olympic Games”.
The IOA has experienced significant logistical hurdles in providing the exact gear requirements of the participating Indian athletes due to the widely dispersed training camps and the constantly changing COVID-19 situation in India. Due to these obstacles, the Indian Olympic Association has sought assistance from Sunlight Sports in order to allow them to appoint local producers who are familiar with the athletes’ garment measurements in order to manufacture and distribute the Indian Olympic team’s sports gear.