By Claire Gordon • 21 November 2021 • 19:34
Missing tennis star Peng Shuai has video called the president of the International Olympic Committee to supposedly confirm she is safe and well after not being seen for three weeks.
The star disappeared after posting on social media a claim she had been sexually assaulted by the former Vice Premier of China, Zhang Gaoli, on November 2.
In the 30-minute video call to Thomas Bach, she confirmed her safety and the IOC said in a 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.”
“That is why she prefers to spend her time with friends and family right now. Nevertheless, she will continue to be involved in tennis, the sport she loves so much.”
Emma Terho, chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, was on the call and said: “I was relieved to see that Peng Shuai was doing fine, which was our main concern. 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.”
Despite the new photos, a Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office spokesperson had earlier said that they remained “extremely concerned” and would continue to follow the case closely. The FCO had also been asking for “verifiable evidence” that Peng Shuai was safe.
In response to earlier released restaurant footage, CEO of the Women’s Tennis Association, Steve Simon, said: “While it is positive to see her, it remains unclear if she is free and able to make decisions and take actions on her own, without coercion or external interference. This video alone is insufficient.
“As I have stated from the beginning, I remain concerned about Peng Shuai’s health and safety and that the allegation of sexual assault is being censored and swept under the rug.”
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