Canadian IOC member Dick Pound defends the organization of the Peng Shuai video call


Dick Pound, a long-time member of the International Olympic Committee, said he did not agree with criticism leveled at his organization for its handling of the Peng Shuai situation.

In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday, the Montreal lawyer defended the IOC for its video call with Peng after the Chinese tennis star’s disappearance of nearly three weeks.

“I have to say I’m really stumped by this assessment,” Pound told Amanpour when asked what he said to those who thought it was an unsatisfactory intervention. “Basically, a lot of people around the world were looking to see what had happened to Peng. No one was able to make contact. Only the IOC could.”

Sunday’s call – with IOC President Thomas Bach, Athletes’ Commission President Emma Terho and IOC Member Li Lingwei, former Vice President of the Chinese Tennis Association – appears to be the first direct contact from Peng with sports officials outside of China since she disappeared from public view on November 2 after accusing a senior Chinese official of sexual assault.

Tennis stars and fans alike have asked to know #WhereIsPengShuai, and the head of the Women’s Tennis Association has threatened to pull lucrative events out of China.

The IOC released a photo showing Bach facing a screen on which Peng appeared but did not broadcast a video of the call. On the same day, the China Open posted videos and photos of his appearance at a youth tennis tournament in Beijing that morning.

Peng “thanked the IOC for its concern for his well-being,” the Swiss-based Olympic body said in a statement.

“She explained that she is safe and well, that she lives at home in Beijing, but that she would like her privacy to be respected at the moment. That is why she prefers to spend her time with her friends and his family at the moment, “the statement said.

“No one posted the video because I guess that aspect was private,” Pound said in his interview with CNN. “But they found her to be in good health and in a good mood and they saw no evidence of containment or anything like that.

“If you’re really concerned about Peng, you’ve got some good news,” Pound added.

Even after the statement was released on Sunday, the WTA reiterated what CEO Steve Simon has been saying for over a week, calling for a full, fair and transparent “uncensored” investigation.

“If nothing else, you can have a lot of confidence that she will be in good shape up to and including Beijing. That’s what we were concerned about… The (WTA) might have their own opinions, but I don’t. think they paid a lot of attention to what happened in basketball and football and threatened the Chinese with economic sanctions. This is not going to work. Part proof of the pudding is that they couldn’t get in touch with her and that’s her sport. Maybe she didn’t like the attitude they were showing. “

Peng, who played for China at three Olympics from 2008 to 2016, made the allegation of sexual assault on Chinese social media three weeks ago against former Communist Party ruling Standing Committee member Zhang Gaoli.

This post was deleted within minutes and the former top-ranked doubles player disappeared from public view. She did not publicly respond to calls for information to show she was safe.

– With files from The Associated Press

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