Chinese table tennis great Deng Yaping on Tuesday called on her compatriots to cheer and applaud for every athlete at the upcoming Beijing Games.
"The Olympic Games is a good opportunity for us to show our hospitality to the world," said Deng, a four-time Olympic gold medallist.
But Deng, who now works with the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG), criticized her compatriots who left an athletics test event at the Bird's Nest stadium last month immediately after local hero Liu Xiang had won his hurdles race.
"I do think it was wrong," said the 35-year-old.
"As an athlete, I was warmly welcomed in the countries I went to. So I think we should reward the foreign athletes with the same kindness and applause."
(Xinhua News Agency June 11, 2008)