Diamond League: Sebastian Coe defends new China event – ‘Open dialogue better than boycott’


“It is still better to have open dialogue and sporting relationships than pulling up the drawbridge,” Sebastian Coe said after a new Diamond League event was added in China; the announcement comes in the wake of the WTA suspending tournaments in the country over concerns for Peng Shuai

Last Updated: 21/12/21 10:16pm

Sebastian Coe said he’s opposed to boycotts in sports

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe has defended the decision to add another Diamond League event in China next year.

The Diamond League confirmed earlier on Tuesday it would hold an event in the Chinese city of Shenzhen on August 6, in addition to one a week before in Shanghai.

The announcement comes in the wake of the Women’s Tennis Association suspending tournaments in the country over concerns for Peng Shuai, the Chinese tennis star who in a November social media post attributed to her accused a former top Communist Party official of forcing her into sex.

In a video posted by Lianhe Zaobao, a Singaporean Chinese-language newspaper, Shuai recently denied saying she was sexually assaulted.

Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai denies making an accusation of sexual assault, in her first media interview since concerns over her welfare began after her social media post claimed a top Chinese leader had coerced her to have sex

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Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai denies making an accusation of sexual assault, in her first media interview since concerns over her welfare began after her social media post claimed a top Chinese leader had coerced her to have sex

Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai denies making an accusation of sexual assault, in her first media interview since concerns over her welfare began after her social media post claimed a top Chinese leader had coerced her to have sex

“We are, of course, concerned for the welfare of all athletes,” Coe said. “I believe all athletes should be free to voice their concerns and sports should never flinch from making those points.

“But it is still better to have open dialogue and sporting relationships than pulling up the drawbridge. Very few other sectors choose to do that. Sport has always played a very important part in the deft diplomacy that has been historically proven to be very successful at times.”

He added that he’s philosophically opposed to boycotts in sports. As a middle-distance runner for Britain, Coe won the 1,500m at the 1980 Summer Games in Moscow after the Americans led a boycott. He won the 1,500m again at the ’84 Games in Los Angeles when the Soviet Union led a boycott.

World Number One Novak Djokovic has backed the WTA's threat to pull the Women's Tour out of China amidst reports that Peng Shuai had gone missing after accusing a former top Chinese official of sexually assaulting her

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World Number One Novak Djokovic has backed the WTA’s threat to pull the Women’s Tour out of China amidst reports that Peng Shuai had gone missing after accusing a former top Chinese official of sexually assaulting her

World Number One Novak Djokovic has backed the WTA’s threat to pull the Women’s Tour out of China amidst reports that Peng Shuai had gone missing after accusing a former top Chinese official of sexually assaulting her

“They tend not to achieve what they set out to achieve,” Coe said. “Diplomatic boycotts, while not really impacting the athlete, are not really particularly strong gestures.

“It’s really important the Diamond League has a foothold in all our big athletics nations.

“You make all sorts of balances and judgments when you are looking at your competition schedule and your programming. We consider that to be an important part of our sport.”





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