IOC manages to contact Peng Shuai, who says she is “fine,” but asks for her “privacy” to be respected

The conversation, held by videoconference from Lausanne, included IOC President Thomas Bach, Athletes’ Commission Chair Emma Terho and IOC Member in China Li Lingwei.

A photo, distributed by the IOC, of Sunday's conversation with Peng Shuai / IOC
A photo, distributed by the IOC, of Sunday's conversation with Peng Shuai / IOC

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) managed to contact today the Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai, lynchpin of a bizarre case that shakes tennis and affects the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

The conversation, held by videoconference from Lausanne, included IOC President Thomas Bach, Athletes’ Commission Chair Emma Terho and IOC Member in China Li Lingwei.

The IOC described the conversation in the following terms: “At the beginning of the 30-minute call, Peng Shuai thanked the IOC for its concern about her well-being. She explained that she is safe and well, living at her home in Beijing, but would like to have her privacy respected at this time. That is why she prefers to spend her time with friends and family right now. Nevertheless, she will continue to be involved in tennis, the sport she loves so much.

“’I was relieved to see that Peng Shuai was doing fine, which was our main concern. She appeared to be relaxed. I offered her our support and to stay in touch at any time of her convenience, which she obviously appreciated,’ said Emma Terho.

“At the end of the call, IOC President Bach invited Peng Shuai for a dinner once he arrives in Beijing next January, which she gladly accepted, and the two agreed to include Emma Terho and Li Lingwei”.

The IOC statement did not go further. It is not known why Peng Shuai wants to spend time with her family and friends and asks that her privacy be respected. 

The tennis player became the centerpiece of a bizarre scandal in recent days, because she disappeared after denouncing a sexual assault by a former high-ranking Chinese Communist Party leader. 

The WTA, the governing body of women’s tennis, requested specific information on her whereabouts and threatened to cut off all sporting and business relations with China.

Beijing will host the Winter Games between February 4 and 20, 2022. U.S. President Joe Biden confirmed that he is considering the possibility of a “diplomatic boycott”.

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