Table tennis authorities have vowed to take action to “prevent the recurrence of racist incidents” after a spectator shouted “yellow banana” during star Chinese paddler Liang Jingkuns round-of-16 match at the World Championships in the US, the South China Morning Post reported.
Chinese fans and state media reacted to a member of the crowd at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas, repeatedly chanting “yellow banana, yellow!” during sixth seed Liang’s thrilling 4-3 victory over Liam Pitchford of the UK.
World No. 9 Liang, who staved off a dramatic fightback from Pitchford having led 3-1 in Friday night’s men’s singles tie, was up 8-4 in the deciding game when the fan began his chant during a break in action, the report said.
The 15th-ranked Pitchford had taken out a banana to eat, while Liang went over to speak to his coach, as a handful of other fans began to join in with the chant, the report added.
The representatives of International Table Tennis Federation gave an interview to the China Media Group in Houston denouncing the incident.
“We got a complaint from the Chinese Table Tennis Association and we noticed something on one night ourselves,” Steve Dainton, Group CEO of the ITTF, said, as per the report.
“And as soon as we got that complaint, together with the local organisers, we took it very, very seriously, and started to take action,” he added.