Tennis

IOC says it continues to speak with Peng Shuai, plans Europe visit

Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai has continued to speak with Olympic officials since the Beijing Winter Games and wants to visit Europe soon, IOC president Thomas Bach said on Friday.

President says latest contact '2nd or 3rd' since Olympics with tennis player

IOC president Thomas Bach, left, said Friday the organization has had recent contact with Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai, right. (Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai has continued to speak with Olympic officials since the Beijing Winter Games and wants to visit Europe soon, IOC president Thomas Bach said on Friday.

The fallout from Peng's allegations last November of being sexually assaulted by a Chinese Communist Party official was a serious distraction for Olympic organizers, and her interview with a French journalist in Beijing to retract her own claims, and later visits to watch medal events including with Bach, did not erase all doubts about her personal safety.

A social media hashtag "Where Is Peng Shuai?" has continued to circulate since February.

Asked about Peng's wellbeing in an online news conference, Bach said a phone call Peng had with IOC athletes commission members this month was a "second or third" contact with her since the Olympics.

"She is looking forward to be able to come to Europe and to visit Lausanne, apparently in particular the Olympic Museum," the IOC leader said. "Then also maybe to watch one or the other tennis tournament."

Bach noted the strict public health and quarantine policies in China during the COVID-19 pandemic could complicate Peng's travel plans.

"We have to see how this develops. The contact as we always said is ongoing," he said.

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