China’s table tennis star reprimands fans for harassing him at the airport

Fan Zhendong lambasted the ‘aggressive’ fan crowds at Guangzhou airport

Joe Middleton
Wednesday 15 September 2021 16:02 BST
Jeoung Young-Sik of South Korea (left) in action against Fan Zhendong of China (right) at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics
Jeoung Young-Sik of South Korea (left) in action against Fan Zhendong of China (right) at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics (REUTERS)

Chinese table tennis player Fan Zhendong has reprimanded fans after they swamped an airport to try and get a glimpse of the Olympic star.

The star athlete was on his way to the 14th National Games in Xian at Guangzhou airport when he was accosted by large crowds of supporters asking for autographs and photos, as reported by the South China Morning Post.

The huddle of fans became so large that the Olympic silver medallist struggled to get to his connecting flight, leading to an angry outburst on microblogging site Weibo.

He said: “Regarding today’s chaotic situation at the Guangzhou airport, I think I must express my attitude.

“Aggressive crowds and physical contact not only bothered me but created inconveniences for the airport staff and other passengers.

“What’s more, obeying the social-distancing rules is everybody’s responsibility because the coronavirus pandemic is not over.”

This latest incident comes amid a crackdown from the Chinese authorities on toxic fandom.

Earlier this year in May the “Clear and Bright” campaign was launched by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) to stop certain fan behaviours, such a cyberbullying.

Zhendong is considered one of the best table tennis players in the world and is immensely popular in China where he has more than half a million followers on Weibo.

He secured an Olympic silver medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after losing in the final to Chinese compatriot Ma Long.

The 24-year-old is currently ranked the world number one by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF).

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