HOUSTON (AP) — Chinese officials’ formal complaint of racist abuse toward one of their players at the table tennis world championships in Texas was taken “very, very seriously,” the sport’s governing body said.
A racial slur seemed to be directed by an unidentified spectator at Liang Jingkun during his match on Friday at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. The sixth-seeded Liang went on to beat Liam Pitchford of England.
“We got a complaint from the Chinese Table Tennis Association and we noticed something on one night ourselves,” said Steve Dainton, chief executive of the International Table Tennis Federation.
“And as soon as we got that complaint, together with the local organizers, we took it very, very serious, and we started to take action,” Dainton told Chinese broadcaster CGTN America.
Liang advanced to the men’s singles semifinals and lost on Sunday to top-seeded teammate Fan Zhendong, the Tokyo Olympics silver medalist.
The ITTF’s newly elected president, Petra Sörling, said the issue was taken “very, very, seriously” by the organization she was elected last week to lead.
“We are standing against racism, and for us, ‘Table Tennis. For All. For Life’ is reality. It’s not only our motto,” Sörling told CGTN.