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Violence Puts Sydney Olympic Champ under Life Ban
    2008-08-24 01:00:26     Xinhua

Angel Valodia Matos (C) of Cuba attacks the referee during the Taekwondo men +80kg bronze medal match against Arman Chilmanov of Kazakhstan at the Beijing Olympic Games on August 23, 2008. [Photo: Xinhuanet]

Angel Valodia Matos from Cuba, gold medalist of the Sydney Olympics, is to face life ban from international competitions by the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF), according to an announcement by WTF on Saturday.

The WTF's recommendation to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) included the disqualification of the athlete from the fifth place in the final classification and as further sanctions on the athlete and coach exclusion from future WTF-promoted and WTF-sanctioned events.

"It's not a final decision. It has been recommended to the IOC. A final decision will be coming from the IOC," said WTF secretary general Yang Jin-suk.

Matos, 32, is punished for attacking the judge. His coach was sanctioned due to the same reason.

The announcement came half an hour after the incident during the bronze-competing match in heavy weight level, when Matos, with a lead of 3-2, got injured in the second round and received medical treatment.

Taekwondo competition rules stipulate that medical treatment of an athlete should be limited to within one minute, otherwise the opponent would be announced as winner.

The Swedish judge Chakir Chelbat believed that time was up and hence decided that his opponent, Arman Chilmanov from Kazakhstan, succeed.

Matos' coach rushed onto the mat to argue with the judge, and the sturdy athlete shook his finger at the latter in dissatisfaction.

The something rendered spectators gapemouthed.

The coach hit Chelbat with his fist, while the rash athlete attacked the Swedish with an axe kick on the head.

The chaos lasted for a few seconds until other referees went over to separate the trio. People watching the match stood up astonishment.

Fairness in judgement has become a problem at the Olympic arena of taekwondo.

Earlier in the afternoon, British athlete Sarah Stevenson filed a protest against the ruling of Chinese Chen Zhong's victory, which caused no small a fuss among people. Finally the judgement was reversed.

Yang said the WTF will "maximize its efforts to minimize the human factors" in judge errors, indicating that an electronic scoring system will be fully used in the future.



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