Written by Staff Writer Staff Writer
(CNN) — A video call has sparked a media storm but it would be the sportswear of choice for China’s boxers for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the IOC said Thursday.
Concerns have been raised over sexism, with Chinese boxer Peng Shuai’s opponent disqualified over comments on the call.
Peng, ranked number five in the world, was unable to see her opponent’s thoughts during the video call but the official who made the call still decided to disqualify her opponent.
But that didn’t stop Chinese media from salivating over their next boxers in the seeding draw, with expert opinion divided on what they would wear in Tokyo.
Named Asian football’s top team by an online voting portal, China has been one of the fastest rising nations at the World Cup since making its debut in 2006.
The country’s first world champion, Liu Xiang, lost his world title just five years after Beijing.
Despite the IOC’s insistence that the banned silicon contacts wouldn’t necessarily lead to China’s boxers being seen as bumbling twits, pundits pointed out that’s exactly what happened in the video call when Peng didn’t know that her opponent, Ji Xiaoxia, was prodding her during the call.
IOC members Stéphane Gay and Dick Pound were both disappointed by the ‘shameful’ video call, but were more interested in the outcome of the ring.
“I have mixed feelings and a lot of puzzlement. It looks ridiculous, disappointing, a real shame,” Gay said.
“But I am even more intrigued by the result,” he added.
Final international figure and a hook to go with the draw
While the World Anti-Doping Agency recommended two of China’s boxers be awarded medals at the 2016 Rio Games after failing to meet the drug testing deadline, it ultimately upheld the IAAF’s decision to not give them points in what some saw as a cynical rebuff.
Pound reacted angrily to the video call and seemingly hinted that a Chinese Olympic team of 100 years might not go through until 2020.
“I didn’t want to see any of that — a good day for China’s boxing. How much longer are they going to go through? A century until Rio for them,” he said.
“Maybe in a century they’ll be real and great boxers.”
Pink Floyd song
With the Japanese media seemingly miffed at the IOC’s call to action, a Chinese-language Pink Floyd song with the lyrics “Is my opponent ready?”, was posted to fan sites.
And despite the debate swirling around video calls, they would be popular with the Chinese, according to fan sites that track support for Chinese boxers at the World Cup.
Chinese sports culture has long been driven by celebrity, with TV shows, food and cosmetics all tinged with the influence of big names like Jiang Zemin and Wu Zetian.
And China has always been a nation of achievers, particularly in swimming, where it remains the Olympic and world champion country despite a dramatic recent dip in its performance.