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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed Sunday that it held a video conference with Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai for 30 minutes, after days of uncertainty about her whereabouts and doubts about her well-being.
According to a statement issued by the IOC, Shuai said she is “safe and well” and that she has been kept quiet at her home in Beijing because she needed “privacy.”
“A relief” to chat with Peng Shuai
“Today, IOC President Thomas Bach held a video call with three-time Olympian Peng Shuai from China,” read the statement. “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.”
According to the statement, Shuai thanked the organization and the world for their concern over the past few days and, although she plans to continue to play tennis regularly, she “prefers to spend her time with friends and family right now” for the time being.
During the call, Bach was accompanied by IOC Athletes’ Commission chair Emma Terho, who said she was “relieved” to speak with Shuai, whom she had known for years from her time with the Chinese Tennis Federation.
“I was relieved to see that Peng Shuai was doing fine, which was our main concern,” Terho said. “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”.”
The call ended with an invitation by Bach and Terho to have dinner with Peng once they arrive in Beijing in January 2022, which she “gladly” accepted.
The tennis player had been missing for several days after making a complaint against China’s former vice-premier Zhang Gaoli, who allegedly forced her to have sex for several years.