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The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) suspended the tournament in China because of continued concern for Chinese player Peng Shuai, 35, who accused a top government official of sexual assault.
Peng was not seen for three weeks after going public with her allegations accusing former Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault. Peng made the allegation on Weibo, a Chinese social media blogging site. Her post was removed almost instantaneously.
David Haggerty, president of the International Tennis Federation (ITF), said they support all women’s rights. They are looking into the allegation and working behind the scene to bring resolution to this concern.
The ITF is the governing body of the sport worldwide. And, they do not plan to suspend the tournament in China despite the ongoing concern for Peng Shuai. It has repeatedly mentioned its concern for her safety.
But, the WTA expressed concern that it had serious doubts about the safety of Peng. It is also concerned about the potential risks to players and staff.
Governments and international sports are calling on China to provide evidence that Peng was safe.
Despite two video calls with the Olympic body, the International Olympic Committee said it cannot give certainties of Peng’s case.
The two video calls were the only contact Peng made since she posted on Weibo accusing a former high-ranking member of the Chinese Communist Party of sexual assault.
WTA chairman and chief executive Steve Simon said earlier this month that the organization will suspend all the 10 scheduled events in China for 2022 including the Finals.
Written by Janet Grace Ortigas
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
BBC: Peng Shuai: ITF ‘does not want to punish a billion people’ by suspending China tournaments
Sports Illustrated: IOC Cannot Give ‘Absolute Certainty’ Amid Growing Concern About Peng Shuai; by Madeline Coleman
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