Sunday, August 24, 2008

Cuban Taekwondo fighter kicks referee, banned for life

Angel Valodia Matos of Cuba, a Taekwondo athlete kicked a Swedish match referee in the face during the Olympics men's +80kg bronze-medal match on Saturday.

(Photo credit: AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

(Photo credit: AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

The video is also on YouTube, watch the YouTube video

The Cuban coach Leudis Gonzalez offered no apology for Matos' actions during the match. The Cuban fighter and his coach were banned for life after the kick, following his disqualification.

Matos was winning 3-2 in the second round, when he fell to the mat after being hit by his opponent, Kazakhstan's Arman Chilmanov. He was sitting there, awaiting medical attention, when he was disqualified for taking too much injury time. Fighters get one minute, and Matos was disqualified when his time ran out.

Matos angrily questioned the call, pushed a judge, then pushed and kicked referee Chakir Chelbat of Sweden. Matos then spat on the floor and was escorted out.

"To me it was obvious he was unable to continue," Chilmanov said. "His toe on his left foot was broken."

Matos won the gold medal in this division at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, dedicating the victory to his mother, who died on the day of the opening ceremony.

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