UPDATE: Cuban Angel Matos and his coach, Leudis Gonzalez, were slapped with a lifetime ban from all World Taekwondo Federation championships for kicking a referee, spitting on the mat, verbal abuse and other acts not fitting an Olympian.
For quite some time now, a sport where the Philippines pins its highest hopes of winning a gold medal, is in danger of being taken off the list of Olympic sports.
Pressured by the need to trim down the number of events and the lobbying for the inclusion of other sports like karate, cricket, rugby and golf, the International Olympic Committee has included the complaint marred Taekwondo in the list of potential list of dropouts. In fact, Taekwondo was in the Beijing Olympics only because of one vote that saved it from being taken out.
And with the huge number of officiating complaints this year and a controversial attack against a referee and a games official, Taekwondo is now in greater danger of being taken out of the Olympics. The leader of the US team, Steven Lopez, a Taekwondo superstar and one of the 3 siblings who won Olympic medals, admitted as much in an interview. He revealed that in June, Taekwondo officials asked the leaders of 25 teams to sign an agreement not to file any protests at the Olympic Games. That was done to avoid any controversy that could further put the sport's Olympic future in jeopardy.
“We were manhandled,” Perez said. “We were threatened not to protest at this event. I think that needs to be said. We were made to sign a document not to protest for the betterment of taekwondo. It was a very big thing. There was a table, you went up to the table, (and) you signed the document. You signed it in front of the secretary general (of the WTF) and you gave him the document.”
Officials of the World Taekwondo either denies the claim or declared it a misunderstanding. But one thing is evident, there is a huge number of questionable referee calls but only one protest upheld. That being said, Taekwondo better clean up its act, fast.