'Closed loop' meeting between IOC President Thomas Bach and Peng Shuai

Reuters
Bangalore, India Updated: Feb 03, 2022, 06:30 PM(IST)

IOC President to meet Peng Shuai in Olympic ''closed loop'' Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

The closed loop is a zone all Games participants are restricted to in order to avoid a spread of the coronavirus infection in Beijing. The Games officially open on Friday.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach will meet Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai inside the `closed loop` of the Beijing Olympics, he said on Thursday.

The well-being of Peng, a former world number one doubles player, became a matter of concern in November when she alleged on social media that a former Chinese vice premier, Zhang Gaoli, had sexually assaulted her.

The closed loop is a zone all Games participants are restricted to in order to avoid a spread of the coronavirus infection in Beijing. The Games officially open on Friday.

Last month Peng said she had never accused anyone of sexually assaulting her and that the post she made had been misunderstood. Zhang has not commented on the matter.

The IOC has held several video calls with Peng in past weeks and Bach said a planned meeting would go ahead at the Feb. 4-20 Games.

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"We know from her explanations ... that she is living in Beijing, that she can move freely, spending time with family and friends," Bach told a news conference.

"Now we will be able to do the next step in a personal meeting to convince us in person of her well-being and state of mind."
Bach said if Peng wanted her allegations to be investigated he would support her.

"If she wants to have an inquiry we would also support her in this. But it`s her life, it`s her allegations," Bach said. "We will know more about her physical integrity and mental state when we meet her in person."

The IOC has had several phone calls with the player in recent months but international concerns over her safety and well-being have not been allayed.

The Women`s Tennis Association (WTA) has suspended tournaments in China due to its concerns over Peng`s safety. China has not directly commented on Peng`s initial post but said after the WTA`s move that it "opposes the politicisation of sports".

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