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Peng Shuai, the tennis star in the middle of a #MeToo firestorm in China, abruptly announces her retirement from the sport

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  • Peng Shuai, the tennis star at the center of a #MeToo scandal in China, announced she’s retiring from the sport.
  • Peng cited her age, “multiple surgeries,” and the COVID-19 pandemic as reasons for her retirement.
  • Peng also denied making sexual assault allegations against former Chinese vice premier Zhang Gaoli. 

Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, the woman at the center of an ongoing #MeToo firestorm in China, has abruptly announced her retirement from the sport. 

In an interview with French publication L’Équipe published Monday, Peng walked back accusations she previously made that former Chinese vice-premier Zhang Gaoli sexually assaulted her and denied that she had ever been disappeared or held against her will by the Chinese government. 

“Sexual assault? I never said anyone had sexually assaulted me in any way,” Peng said. 

Peng, 36, added that she “wanted to” delete the social media post in which she made sexual assault allegations against Zhang. 

“I’d like to say that feelings, sports, and politics are three very distinct things. My love life problems, my personal life, must not be mingled with sports and politics,” Peng told L’Équipe. 

When asked about her disappearance last November, which prompted aggressive campaigning from the sporting community for China to reveal her whereabouts, Peng said: “I never disappeared. Everyone could see me.” 

The tennis pro then said she would not be playing professionally from now on, citing her age, “multiple surgeries,” and the COVID-19 pandemic as reasons for her abrupt retirement. 

“Tennis completely changed my life. It brought me joy, challenges, and so much more. Sometimes it’s hard to say goodbye and retire,” Peng said. “Even if I no longer participate in professional competitions, I will always be a tennis player.” 

According to The New York Times, Peng had a private meeting with Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee, in Beijing over the weekend.

When asked by The Times if he intended to ask for an investigation into Peng’s previous claims of sexual assault, Bach said: “It must be her decision. It’s her life. It’s her allegations.” 

Courtesy By INSIDER

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