It’s been a pretty eventful start of the week as news of Chinese table tennis player Zhang Jike reportedly owing massive gambling debt and his betrayal of his ex-girlfriend – actress Jing Tian rocked the industry. Zhang Jike and Jing Tian went public with their relationship back in 2018 but broke up a year later in June 2019. When the story broke earlier, the Olympic gold medalist even issued a statement to refute the claims made by an investigative reporter named Li Wei Ao and said they’ve hired a lawyer to push forward with legal action. However, the veteran reporter backed his revelations with an alleged copy of Zhang Jike’s IOU bearing the loan amount of 5 million with his signature and fingerprint.
Claims that Zhang Jike took three private videos of actress Jing Tian
What’s more, according to Mr Li, it appears he also pulled in his ex-girlfriend Jing Tian into his financial woes. In his expose, Li Wei Ao claimed that Zhang Jike took three private videos of Jing Tian which he then used to “repay” his gambling debts amounting to RMB 22 Million (approximately US$ 3.1 Million). His creditor, a certain “Mr. S” then allegedly tried to extort the actress for RMB 17 million! Luckily, Jing Tian reported the extortion attempts to the cops and he was arrested.
Following a trial which Zhang Jike also appeared in as a witness, Mr S was sentenced to seven years in prison for extortion and fined RMB 50,000 (~ US$ 7.2k) despite making an appeal. Meanwhile, Zhang Jike went on record as a witness and confirmed dating Jing Tian and showing Mr. S intimate videos he took of his ex. As for his multimillion debt, it is reported that the table tennis star paid up 1 million after undergoing mediation with the family of Mr S who sued him after the verdict.
Not His First Time Called Out for Gambling Debts
Yep that’s right. Chinese media reports that as early as 2004 when he was just 16, Chinese sports newspaper Titan Sports (体坛周报) already wrote about his gambling propensities when he reportedly borrowed the bank card of an undisclosed tennis star to participate in a “game” with a gambling nature. However, after losing money, it is said that he couldn’t face everyone and left the team in the middle of a competition.
Likewise, in 2015 whilst in Germany for a table tennis competition, German media reported that the table tennis champ snuck out of the hotel with a group of people and headed towards a casino.
Meanwhile, brands who have endorsement deals with the three time Olympic gold medalist have already began to sever ties such as Anta. Likewise, brands with sponsorship deals with Zhang Jike such as Nivea and FAW Toyota have also begun distancing themselves from the table tennis player.