Some of India's premier athletes now find themselves in the middle of a fresh controversy. According to a report in the Private News Agency, Li Ning (official apparel sponsor of the Indian contingent) has brought it to Indian Olympic Association's notice that several Indian athletes violated a sponsor agreement during the recently concluded Rio Olympics. The list includes silver medalist PV Sindhu, gymnast Dipa Karmakar and Yogeshwar Dutt.
Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth were spotted wearing Yonex outfits in several matches during the Olympics. Dipa wore a Shiv Naresh kit for her routines but then switched to Li Ning after being informed by her team about the violation. Wrestler Dutt's singlet too featured a SAIL logo during his only bout at the event.
Li Ning had signed a deal of over Rs 3 crore with IOA for the Rio Games. "I'll not blame the players, but we have written to the IOA about these violations," Mahender Kapoor, Li Ning's managing director (South Asia) told the newspaper.
"We have received complaints from Li Ning about a few violations. We had spoken to the federation (Badminton Association of India) about the complaints. We did our job as we informed the federation. We were apprehensive of telling the players directly as they were doing well and didn't want to break their momentum. I am expecting this matter to go to court," IOA secretary-general Rajiv Mehta told Media.