Peng Shuai: WTA suspends tournaments in China

The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) on Wednesday said it had decided to suspend tournaments in China due to concerns about the safety of former world doubles number one Peng Shuai.

WTA CEO Steve Simon said: “I don’t understand how I can ask our athletes to compete there when Peng Shuai is not allowed to socialize freely and seems to have been pressured. to counter her allegation of sexual assault.”

“Given the current situation, I am also very worried about the risks that all our players and staff may face if we hold events in China in 2022.”

Peng’s whereabouts have become an issue of international concern for nearly three weeks after she posted a message on social media alleging that former Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli sexually assaulted her.

On November 21, IOC President Thomas Bach had a 30-minute video call with Peng – the three-time Olympic athlete whose supporters say he may be under political pressure – in which she told him she was safe and with her family and friends.

But Simon, who said the decision to suspend tournaments in China is fully supported by the WTA Board of Directors, does not believe all is well with Peng.

“While we now know where Peng is, I really doubt she is free, safe and free from censorship, coercion and threats,” Simon said.

“The WTA has been clear about what is needed here, and we reiterate our call for a full and transparent investigation – without censorship – into Peng Shuai’s alleged sexual assault. .”

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