Castro Backs Cuban Athlete Who Kicked Ref

Accuses Matos' opponent of trying to fix fight
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Aug 25, 2008 5:41 PM CDT
Cuba's Matos, left, kicks the referee in the face during a bronze medal match.   (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
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(Newser) – An ailing Fidel Castro expressed "total solidarity" today with a Cuban martial artist who kicked an Olympics referee in the face, the AP reports. Castro supported a claim by the taekwondo athlete's coach that the contest was fixed and marred by a bribery attempt. "They had tried to buy his own coach," Castro wrote of Angel Matos, who faces a lifetime ban from the sport. "He could not contain himself."

"Cuba has never bought an athlete or judge," wrote Castro after Cuba won two golds, seven fewer than in Athens 4 years ago. He urged Cuban athletes to prepare for the London games in 2012, adding that "there will be European chauvinism, judge corruption, buying of brawn and brains... and a strong dose of racism."