China’s Peng Shuai and her coach were both punished for deliberately not showing up at an Olympic medal ceremony after she was disqualified from the women’s doubles event, Human Rights Watch said.
The organization said the Chinese Tennis Association took swift action to ban her father, Chen Tianyong, from coaching his daughter and banned his coach, Zhang Xin, from the sport. But Peng’s case, it said, revealed the Chinese Olympic Committee had acted with less decisive and timely determination.
“China does not seem to share its own government’s view that sport and politics should not mix,” said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch. “We must protect the integrity of the Olympic Games by taking measures to identify those who politicize sport.”
Peng was replaced by her compatriot Qiang Wang in the medal ceremony for the women’s doubles event at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016. The center court referee cited Peng’s failure to show up at the final set of that match as her reason for disqualifying her and Wang from the contest.
The WTA, the International Tennis Federation, and the International Olympic Committee have all denied media claims that Peng deliberately declined to show up for the medal ceremony to protest China’s relations with Taiwan. WTA officials have cited rules requiring players to appear for the medal ceremony at a given time, but to do so would violate their contracts with the sport’s governing bodies.
International Olympic Committee officials have not said whether or not China’s refusal to give Wang and Peng a medal was a violation of the rules of the Olympic charter.
Read the full story at The Huffington Post.
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