Cuban taekwondo athlete Angel Matos received a lot of press last week after he decided to high kick an Olympic judge. And now Cuban president Fidel Castro has defended Matos, and accused Kazakhstan of cheating.
Matos was winning 3-2 in the second-round bronze-medal match when he fell to the mat after being hit by his opponent, Kazakhstan's Arman Chilmanov. He was sitting awaiting medical attention when he was disqualified for taking too much time.
That angered Matos somewhat, prompting him to question the call, push a judge, and then -- the cherry on the cake -- kick the Swedish referee in the face.
Afterward, Matos's coach countered that the match was fixed and accused the Kazakhs of offering him money.
In a column written for state media, Castro said the alleged bribery attempt gave Matos good reason to expect the judges to treat him unfairly. According to AP, Castro wrote that "they had tried to buy his own coach, he could not contain himself."
"I saw when the judges blatantly stole fights from two Cuban boxers in the semifinals," Castro wrote. "Our fighters...had hopes of winning, despite the judges, but it was useless. They were condemned beforehand."
Matos and his coach have been banned for life.To make matters worse, Cuba's last hope for Olympic Boxing gold, Carlos Bantos, fought with Kazakh boxer Bakyt Sersekbaev in the 69 kilogram final and lost. Castro failed to mention that fight.
-- Yedige Magauin