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Missing Chinese Tennis player appears in a video call with Olympic officials, IOC says she is safe

Picture Courtesy: Cosmopolitan

Peng Shuai, the three-time Olympian from China publicly accused former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of coercing her into sex at his home in a social media post on November 2nd. Since then she was not seen directly in public.

This led to widespread concern, especially in the Tennis world about the safety of Peng Shuai. Hashtag #WhereIsPengShuai was used to express worry regarding Shuai’s safety.

On Sunday, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach held a video phone call with Peng Shuai. The two were accompanied on the video call by a Chinese sports official, Li Lingwei, as well as the Chair of the Athletes' Commission, Emma Terho according to a report by CNN.

The Women's Tennis Association and the United Nations had earlier called for an investigation into the accusations made by Shuai. Steve Simon, the head of the WTA, had requested on Friday that either Peng Shuai be allowed to leave the country or speak live via teleconference with him and no one else present.

After the news about her video conference with IOC and Chinese officials, Steve Simon said, "It remains unclear if she is free and able to make decisions and take actions on her own, without coercion or external interference,”

As per the IOC statement on the video conference, Peng thanked the committee for its concern about her well-being and insisted that she is safe and well and is currently in Beijing. Chair of the Athletes' Commission, Emma 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."

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