Fidel Castro backs banned Cuban taekwondo athlete

HAVANA, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro on Monday defended a Cuban taekwondo athlete banned forever from the sport for kicking a referee during the Beijing Olympics.
Castro, in a column on the Internet, said Angel Valodia Matos already was “indignant” because someone tried to bribe his coach and “could not contain himself” when referee Chakir Chelbat disqualified him in a bronze-medal match he led over Kazakhstan’s Arman Chilmanov.
“Astonished by a decision that appeared totally unjust to him, he protested and kicked the referee,” Castro wrote.
Valodia, who kicked Chelbat in the face, and coach Leudis Gonzalez were banned for life.
“For our taekwondo athlete and his coach, our total solidarity,” Castro said.

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