Peng Shuai

IOC Releases Statement, Holds Second Video Call With Peng Shuai

The International Olympic Committee has held a second video call with Peng Shuai amid concerns on the Chinese tennis player's wellbeing.

AP Photo/Andy Wong)

The IOC (International Olympic Committee) has held a second video call with Grand Slam doubles champion Peng Shuai. They have also released an official statement on the Chinese tennis player's behalf amid ongoing concerns on her wellbeing.

"We share the same concern as many other people and organisations about the wellbeing and safety of Peng Shuai. This is why, just yesterday, an IOC team held another video call with her," the IOC said in a statement on Thursday.

"We have offered her wide-ranging support, will stay in regular touch with her, and have already agreed on a personal meeting in January."

The call was held just moments before the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) announced an immediate suspension of all tournaments in China due to ongoing concerns.

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The IOC and its president Thomas Bach first made contact with Peng on Nov. 21 and now they aim to take what the organization is calling a "human and person-centered approach" as they continue in this process.

"The IOC’s efforts led to a half-hour videoconference with Peng Shuai on 21 November, during which she explained her situation and appeared to be safe and well, given the difficult situation she is in. This was reconfirmed in yesterday’s call. Our human and person-centred approach means that we continue to be concerned about her personal situation and will continue to support her."

The three-time Olympian's whereabouts became a public concern following a posted message on social media in early November where she alleged that China's former Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli had sexually assaulted her. Her post was removed minutes later and Peng was not publicly seen for almost three weeks.

While small clips began to circulate on social media of appearances by Peng, the WTA said it was not sufficient evidence to prove her safety. On Wednesday, the association said it was suspending a 10-year agreement with China to hold championship matches there.

Neither Zhang nor the Chinese government have commented on these allegations.

Beijing hosts the 2022 Winter Olympics in February.

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