After criticizing the video link with the long-missing Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai, the International Olympic Committee reiterated the motivation for making contact.

"The main purpose of the call was to inquire about the welfare and safety of Peng Shuai," an IOC statement said Monday.

“Protecting the well-being of athletes is of paramount importance to the IOC and the Olympic Movement.

We agreed to keep in touch and she agreed to meet in Beijing in January. "

The 35-year-old world-class double player asked in the 30-minute video link with IOC President Thomas Bach that her privacy be respected in every respect.

"Please understand that we will not comment further out of consideration for your privacy," said the IOC.

The athletes' association Global Athlete, on the other hand, had harshly criticized the IOC and its president.

The IOC announcement about a video link between Bach and the Chinese on Sunday made "the IOC complicit in the malicious propaganda of the Chinese authorities and their lack of interest in basic human rights and justice," said a statement from the Athletes Union.

In early November, Peng Shuai published allegations of sexual assault by a top Chinese politician on the Weibo social network. After that, she was initially no longer seen in public. China's state media had video clips circulating over the weekend, which should also prove that the former world number one is doing well in doubles.

IOC President Bach then made a video call with her on Sunday. The IOC announced that the Chair of the IOC Athletes' Commission, Emma Terho from Finland, and the Chinese IOC member Li Lingwei were also present. At the beginning, Peng Shuai thanked the IOC for worrying about their well-being. She stated that she was safe and well living in her Beijing home, but that her privacy should be respected at this time. That's why she prefers to spend her time with friends and family. Nevertheless, she will continue to devote herself to tennis, the sport she loves so much.

“I was relieved to see that Peng Shuai was fine, which was our main concern.

She seemed relaxed.

I offered her our support and offered to keep in touch at all times, which she obviously appreciated, ”said Emma Terho, according to the IOC announcement.

At the end of the conversation, Bach invited Peng Shuai to dinner as soon as he arrived in Beijing next January.

You have accepted the invitation, it was said by the IOC.

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