IOC feel interview answered ‘where is Peng Shuai?’ question with further meetings planned
Thomas Bach feels the IOC’s recent interview with Peng Shuai satisfied their concerns and revealed they have extended an invitation to meet her in Switzerland.
Back in November, global concerns arose when former French Open and Wimbledon doubles champion Peng Shuai accused former Chinese Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli of coercing her into a sexual relationship.
However, Peng has since retracted her allegations on two separate occasions and has said there had been “huge misunderstandings.”
The first instance came when a pro-Beijing news outlet interviewed her in public, whilst the second came in an interview with French newspaper L’Equipe.
However, one of the journalists who interviewed Peng revealed he was still concerned for her freedom and recognised the interview was likely “propaganda.”
Similarly, the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) said the recent L’Equipe interview did “not alleviate any concerns.”
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) had held a video interview with Peng when the situation first came to light, although the interview was slammed for being “too weak.”
Moreover, the IOC received further criticism for allowing themselves to become a “Chinese propaganda tool.”
Meanwhile, the WTA took the decision to withdraw all events from China after their failure to cooperate with requests for a “full, fair and transparent investigation.”
Speaking to reporters after meeting with the Chinese star, IOC President Bach said “we were trying to answer the question everybody was asking: ‘Where is Peng Shuai?’ This is why we took this human-centred approach from the very beginning.
“This is why we invited her for a meeting here, to show everybody it is not just a one-off effort. We will keep this contact up. We answered the question ‘where is Peng Shuai?’ We are continuing by having invited her to come to Lausanne.
“You could see it in her appearances that she is enjoying the [Beijing Olympic] Games, enjoying being among athletes and the public and this is why we are continuing to have this contact,” Bach revealed.
“It is about calling for her. It is a human thing. It is about a person and the feelings, the emotions of one person.
“I hope I will meet her again in the summer in Lausanne to show that this caring is not finished with the Games. It is an ongoing effort.”
The IOC’s headquarters are located in Lausanne, Switzerland and Peng has been invited to meet in the Summer months.
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