Yao Ming says he spoke to Peng Shuai amid rumors of her disappearance: ‘She was in pretty good condition’

yao-ming.jpg

Former NBA star Yao Ming revealed on Monday that he spoke with Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai at a winter sports exhibition they both attended in December.

In November, Peng claimed in social media posts that Chinese Communist Party leader Zhang Gaoli sexual assaulted her. The posts were quickly deleted and Peng was then not seen in the public eye for weeks. Many in the tennis world worried for her safety and many have still questioned the appearances she has made since returning to the public eye.

“She was in pretty good condition that day,” Ming said of speaking to her on Dec. 19. “We were all chatting happily and asking a lot of questions about the sport since we weren’t familiar with it.”

Yao, the current president of the Chinese Basketball Association, and Peng have known one another for about two decades. He added that he and Peng both tried to better familiarize themselves with winter sports at the exhibition ahead of the Beijing Olympics.

“We asked many questions about the game as we were not familiar with snow sports,” Ming said.

On Dec. 19, the same day she attended the event and spoke with Ming, Peng denied ever making the sexual assault claims — nearly two full months after the accusations were posted online.

“I have never spoken or written about anyone sexually assaulting me,” Peng said.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Dick Pound said the group made an unanimous decision that Peng was “fine” after a video call with IOC president Thomas Bach. Bach said Peng was “relaxed” in the video, which took place early in December while Peng was still not being seen in the public eye.

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