China's twerking high jumper banned for breaking commercial rules


Shanghai (AFP)

China has suspended a world silver-medallist high jumper -- known for his flamboyant twerking celebrations -- after he broke the country's strict rules on commercial activities, state media said.

Zhang Guowei said that he was "still fighting on the frontlines of the national team" despite his suspension from all competitions.

The Chinese Athletic Association (CAA) punished the 27 year-old for attending two commercial events, in late February and early March, without getting permission, Xinhua news agency reported.

The CAA did not specify the length of the suspension, Xinhua said.

"I deeply felt the care, concerns and expectations from them," Zhang, who won silver at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, wrote on Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter.

"The officials expressed their understanding and tolerance towards my behaviour.

"Please don't worry! Zhang Guowei is still fighting on the frontlines of the national team."

A quirky character, Zhang celebrates successful jumps in an exuberant fashion, twerking and striking poses, before sprinting towards spectators.

He suffered injuries and loss of form after his 2015 silver, coming well outside the medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics.