National bodies back WTA suspension of China tournaments over Peng concerns

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Peng Shuai of China hits a instrumentality to Maria Kirilenko of Russia during their women's singles lucifer astatine the Australian Open tennis tourney successful Melbourne January 17, 2013. REUTERS/Toby Melville

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Dec 3 (Reuters) - National tennis federations hailed the enactment of the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) successful representing and protecting players' rights aft its determination to suspend tournaments successful China implicit the attraction of erstwhile doubles satellite fig 1 Peng Shuai.

Peng was unseen successful nationalist for astir 3 weeks aft she posted a connection connected societal media successful November accusing China's erstwhile Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli of forcing her into sex, with her whereabouts becoming a substance of planetary concern.

Neither Zhang, who retired successful 2018, nor the authorities person commented connected Peng's accusation and the taxable has been blocked connected China's heavy censored internet.

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The WTA connected Thursday suspended tournaments successful China implicit the attraction of Peng. Beijing took umbrage and though they did not straight notation the WTA, they opposed the "politicization of sports".

The WTA's decision, which could outgo the women's organisation hundreds of millions of dollars successful broadcasting and sponsorship, was applauded by the tennis fraternity.

Tennis Canada said it had taken a wide stance connected the contented owed to heavy concerns for Peng's wellness and security.

"We consciousness precise liable for the galore young women that question the satellite to vie and it's indispensable we bash everything for them to beryllium safe, different our players and our athletics is astatine risk," a Tennis Canada spokesperson told Reuters.

The spokesperson added that the federation respected the enactment shown by the WTA.

The Italian Tennis Federation said it afloat backed the WTA's stance implicit the Peng situation, a connection echoed by Tennis New Zealand, which added it would enactment with the organisation to supply immoderate enactment required.


Tennis Australia said that the wellness and wellbeing of Peng would stay its priority.

"We commend the WTA connected the beardown enactment they person shown successful the practice and extortion of the rights of players," it added successful a statement.

"We'll proceed to enactment (WTA CEO) Steve Simon and the WTA squad arsenic we enactment unneurotic to summation assurance connected Peng's welfare."

Peng, a three-time Olympian, appeared successful mid-November astatine a meal with friends and a children's tennis lawsuit successful Beijing, photographs and videos published by Chinese authorities media and by the tournament's organisers showed.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it had held a 2nd video telephone with the 35-year-old connected Wednesday pursuing 1 precocious past month. work much

But Wang Ling-hua, the acting secretary-general of Taiwan's tennis relation said the WTA had to enactment successful the mode it did.

"... The WTA has its ain thinking. I deliberation this is what the full satellite should do. The WTA is aft each a person successful women's nonrecreational tennis," Wang said.

"If it didn't respond successful this way, I deliberation that would not beryllium bully for pistillate athletes."

The Korean Tennis Association said that erstwhile Peng is proven to beryllium safe, the WTA's suspension of tournaments successful China should beryllium handled cautiously.

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Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar, Sudipto Ganguly, Ian Ransom, Sangmi Cha and Sarah Wu; Editing by Rohith Nair

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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