Fidel Castro on Monday defended the Cuban taekwondo athlete who kicked a referee in the face at the Beijing Olympics, saying Angel Matos was rightfully indignant over his disqualification from the bronze-medal match.
Taekwondo officials want Matos and his coach banned for life from the sport. But Castro expressed “our total solidarity” for both Matos and his coach Leudis Gonzalez.
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, and was disqualified for taking more than his one minute of injury time.
Matos angrily questioned the call, pushed a judge and then pushed and kicked referee Chakir Chelbat of Sweden, who needed stiches to repair his lip. Matos then spat on the floor and was escorted out.
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