Star Hong Kong hurdler Vera Lui Lai-yiu posted on social media early on Thursday – the day she turned 23 – that she had been sexually assaulted by her coach 10 years ago, when she was just a young teenager.
Lui posted a photo of herself holding a sign with words “#METOO” and initials “LLY” on her Facebook account.
Lui, who was a bronze-medal winner for Hong Kong at the East Asian Games in 2013, said she was inspired by US Olympic gold-medal-winning gymnast McKayla Maroney, who has also said she was molested at the age of 13, to reveal that she was a victim too.
Lui said that 10 years ago when she was around 13 or 14, she met the coach through extracurricular activities. One Saturday, she got a call from him asking if she needed a massage on her muscles after training.
Lui said she did not think anything risky could happen as she trusted the coach as a professional.
She said the coach took her to his home and asked her to lie face down on the bed. He massaged her thigh and then asked her to take off her jeans so that he could do the massage easily, she said.
Finally, Lui said, the coach took off her underpants and assaulted her by touching her private parts, and she did not know how to react.
Lui said she had not heard of similar cases in the Hong Kong sports sector so far but she thought it unlikely she was the only person to have suffered such abuse.
She encouraged more people to come forward if they had encountered abuse.
Pui Ching Middle School, which Lui attended, issued a statement that it was informed about the assault three weeks ago, Apple Daily reported.
The school condemned the alleged perpetrator and said it was deeply saddened by what had happened to Lui, adding that the external coach involved had been suspended from training students.
Hong Kong Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu appealed to all victims of sexual harassment or assault to lodge a complaint or report with the Equal Opportunities Commission or police, Sing Tao Daily reported.