Cuban taekwondo athlete kicks ref, faces lifetime ban
Taekwondo athlete Angel Matos of Cuba faces a lifetime ban after kicking the referee in the face following his disqualification in a bronze-medal match Saturday at the Beijing Games.
Matos's coach Leudis Gonzalez also faces a lifetime ban in response to the incident that took place at the end of the men's over-80 kg bout.
"We didn't expect anything like what you have witnessed to occur," said World Taekwondo Federation secretary general Yang Jin-suk. "I am at a loss for words."
Although the arena announcer said Matos and his coach were banned effective immediately, Yang said due process must be followed before officially banning the two.
A gold medallist at the 2000 Sydney Games, Matos was winning the match 3-2 against Kazakhstan's Arman Chilmanov with 1:02 in the second round when he fell to the mat after being hit.
Fighters get one minute to receive medical attention, but Matos was disqualified when his time ran out.
After angrily questioning the decision, the Cuban pushed a judge, then pushed and kicked referee Chakir Chelbat of Sweden.
Matos then spat on the floor before being escorted out.
"He was too strict," Gonzalez said of the decision to disqualify Matos.
Gonzalez also alleged the match was fixed and accused the Kazakhstanis of offering him money.
In the gold-medal match, Cha Dong-min of South Korea defeated European champion Alexandros Nikolaidis of Greece 5-4.
Nigeria's Chika Yagazie Chukwumerije won the other bronze medal, defeating Akmal Irgashev of Uzbekistan.
Two bronze medals are awarded in taekwondo at the Olympics.
With files from the Associated Press