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Chinese team reports racist abuse at table tennis worlds

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HOUSTON — Chinese officials’ formal complaint about racial abuse against one of their players at the Texas World Table Tennis Championships was taken “very, very seriously,” the sport’s governing body said.

A racist statement appeared to have been directed by an unidentified spectator in Liang Jingkun during his match Friday at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. Sixth-seeded Liang defeated England’s Liam Pitchford.

“We received a complaint from the China Table Tennis Association and noticed something ourselves one night,” said Steve Dainton, chief executive of the International Table Tennis Federation.

“And as soon as we got that complaint, we took it very, very seriously with the local organizers and started taking action,” Dainton told Chinese broadcaster CGTN America.

Liang advanced to the men’s singles semifinals, losing to teammate Fan Zhendong, the silver medalist of the Tokyo Olympics, on Sunday.

The newly elected president of the ITTF, Petra Srling, said the issue was being taken “very, very seriously” by the organization she elected to lead last week.

“We stand against racism, and for us, ‘Table tennis. For everyone. For Life’ is reality. It’s not just our motto,” Srling told CGTN.

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