July 16, 2021

BEIJING (Reuters) – Photos of the Chinese Olympic canoe-and-kayak team wearing blazers in the colour of eggplant have drawn widespread mockery and derision by China’s unforgiving internet users.

The jackets also sport light purple vertical stripes, with their lapels and collars lined with red piping.

Since the photos were put online on Wednesday by a prominent internet influencer, many internet users in China have described the outfits as “ugly” and “circus-like”.

The canoe-and-kayak team told domestic media on Thursday that the outfits were team uniforms and not the official dress that all Chinese athletes will wear at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics.

“Since you guys haven’t received positive comments, you’ve quickly said, ‘it’s designed for the kayak team!’” one internet user said.

Another user said the uniforms made the red-and-yellow outfits worn by Chinese athletes at the 2016 Rio games look good in comparison.

“I actually feel the ‘tomato-and-egg stir-fry’ uniform looks nice now…,” the user said.

According to some Chinese media reports, the official dress for Chinese athletes will be unveiled on Sunday.

Staff at the Chinese Olympic Committee could not immediately comment when contacted by phone.

Mainland China is sending a record 777 people to Tokyo, including 431 athletes, in its biggest overseas Olympic delegation in history.

Over half of the athletes will be competing in the Olympics for the first time.

The Games, postponed from 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will run from July 23 to Aug. 8.

(Reporting by Ryan Woo; Additional reporting by Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Michael Perry)