Dozens of accounts on Weibo were suspended after Chinese Olympic athlete Wang Luyao was insulted and mocked by users for failing to make it to the air rifle final.
23-year-old Luyao, one of the top Chinese contenders at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, crashed out in the semi-final round and made to the 16th spot in 10-metre air rifle event.
After her disappointing defeat, she apologised on Chinese social media platform Weibo by posting a selfie captioned: “Sorry everyone, I admit I chickened out. See you in three years.”
The picture prompted a flood of online abuse and bullying as several called her out for losing and appearing to make light of her failure.
“Why not reflect on your failure? What purpose do you have for releasing an arrogant selfie?” a user said.
Another said: “You did not spend time thinking about why you failed, but immediately posted a selfie on Weibo. It seems you desire to be famous.”
The backlash to the Olympian’s post became a top trend on Weibo, forcing her to delete her picture. Taking action on the matter, Weibo announced that accounts of 33 users have been banned temporarily and 35 defamatory comments were deleted, reported The Global Times.
In her social media post on Sunday, she explained why she said she “chickened out.”
"I posted the selfie because I wanted to straighten out the state of my mind. Starting from scratch, I will not be defeated and keep my head down, so I will come back again in Paris, from a new start, from the beginning," said Wang.
Her severe criticism and trolling triggered a counter-trend "Wang Luyao is still Zhejiang’s good girl" as people rallied behind her.
“To win or to lose is normal. To train hard and love life is the best portrayal of athletes in the new era. Wang Luyao will achieve better results in the future,” China’s nationalist media People’s Daily said on Weibo.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies