IOC President Thomas Bach has said that he will meet with Peng Shuai during the Winter Olympics in Beijing. The tennis star accused former Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault in a social media post in November last year.
While speaking at a news conference, Bach said a personal meeting with the Chinese will take place so that he can be convinced of her safety and well-being. The German also said the IOC would support Peng if she wanted an inquiry.
"We know from her explanations ... that she is living in Beijing, that she can move freely, spending time with family and friends," said the 68-year-old. "Now we will be able to do the next step in a personal meeting to convince us in person of her well-being and state of mind."
"If she wants to have an inquiry we would also support her in this. But it's her life, it's her allegations," Bach added. "We will know more about her physical integrity and mental state when we meet her in person."
Peng Shuai has denied making sexual assault allegations
Peng's disappearance from the public eye has been a frequently talked-about subject in recent months. A number of tennis stars, including Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka, voiced their concerns over Peng's safety while the WTA demanded an investigation into the matter.
Chinese state-run newspaper Global Times released a couple of videos of the two-time Grand Slam doubles champion enjoying a meal with friends at a Beijing restaurant. However, WTA chairman Steve Simon deemed this as insufficient evidence and eventually decided to suspend all tournaments in China.
Peng spoke to the media for the first time since the incident back in December and denied that she had been sexually assaulted.
During the recently-concluded Australian Open, there were a few spectators who wore T-shirts with the slogan, "Where's Peng Shuai?" The T-shirts were initially banned by the tournament's organizers before they reversed the decision.
It will be interesting to see how the meeting between Bach and the 36-year-old unfolds during the Winter Olympics. The Games are scheduled to take place in Beijing from February 4-20.