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Peng Shuai US Open 2014

Peng Shuai ‘grateful we sought contact’ in highly criticised video interview, says IOC President

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President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach has claimed Peng Shuai was “offered support in all areas” after their video interviews with her were widely criticised.

Peng Shuai stated in a video interview with the IOC that she was “safe and well,” although this interview was branded as “weak,” a “publicity stunt” and a “media exercise.”

The IOC have also been slammed for their approach of “quiet diplomacy,” with many warning they could become a “Chinese propaganda tool” and could be “putting Peng at greater risk.”

They have also been accused of “attaching greater importance to political and economic interests than the protection of athletes” by a German Athletes’ rights group.

Whilst the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) have had email correspondence with Peng, which CEO and Chairman Steve Simon feels is “100% orchestrated,” the IOC are the only organisation outside of China to have established direct video communication with Peng.

Bach told news agency DPA International that the ongoing situation “is on my and everyone’s mind. Such humanitarian cases are coming particularly close to you.

“Physical integrity is the most important human right. We were sharing this concern for an Olympic athlete with many athletes and people around the world when she could not be reached for a long time. We had to decide how to proceed in such a situation.”

Bach claimed Peng “showed herself to be grateful that we sought to contact her” and revealed “we are also in talks with Chinese sports organisations and official bodies and I can assure you that all aspects of this case are being discussed with the Chinese side.

“I was very touched by the conversation with her. It is not easy to hold such a talk via video. I can only report what she is reporting.

“We have offered her support in all areas. You can only have a really meaningful conversation with an athlete who is in such a fragile situation if trust is built up and the public around the world is not immediately informed about its content.”

“We can say with confidence it (trust) has been established through personal contact. We will continue this humanitarian effort and contact.”

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Peng Shuai US Open 2014
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