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Last day Olympic taekwondo events full of chaos
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Chaos caused by dispute over judges' decisions dominated the last day of the Olympic taekwondo events at the University of Science and Technology Beijing on Saturday.

The semifinals for women's +67kg class were delayed for half an hour due to a disagreement on the result of the quarterfinal match between Chinese star player Chen Zhong and Sarah Stevenson.

Chen, who was formerly ruled as winner in the quarterfinal, had her victory overruled as the British team appealed against the judgement.

It's the first time in the Olympic taekwondo history that a result was reversed since the South Korea-born martial art was included in the Olympic programs at Sydney Games.

Chen took the lead in the second round with one point, however, Stevenson, Chen's long-time rival, successfully nailed a headshot just one second to go in the third round. The kick wasn't scored after the judge and four corner referees' discussion and they decided Chen as the winner.

However, at around 17:15, it was announced through the loudspeaker that the result was reversed.

"After reviewing the match footage, the Competition Supervisory Board decided to reverse the match result due to an error in judgement. GRB (Great Britain) advances to the semifinal," read the official communication issued by the technical delegation at 17:40. It didn't reveal any details about how and why the original results were changed.

Home fans couldn't accept the fact and some of them began to leave and some others cheered Mexican player Maria del Rosario Espinoza during her match with Stevenson, who lost the game 1-4 to Espinoza. However, actually Stevenson's defeat cost Chen's last chance to fight for a bronze.

The World Taekwondo Federation later arranged a press conference.

Yang Jin-suk, secretary-general of the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF), said that after a review of the protest application and the video, it was very clear that the British player was the winner.

He said China didn't file a reprotest although they had the right to.

"They were so graceful and as host country, with their sportsmanship, they accepted the decision," he said.

He said the human errors cannot be eliminated in current scoring system although the WTF has paid a lot attention to train the judges and referees. He promised the WTF will "maximize our efforts, trying to minimize the errors".

However, the situation just turned worse when less than one hour later, Angel Valodia Matos of Cuba and his coach attacked the judge, who disqualified Matos, 32, from the bronze playoff at the men's +80kg class.

Matos, gold medalist in the men's 80kg class in Sydney, took a lead of 3-2 in the second round when he got injured.

He then sat on the mat to receive medical treatment, which should be limited within one minute according to the competition rules.

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

Matos' coach rushed onto the mat to argue with the judge and then hit Chelbat with his fist, while the rash athlete attacked the Swede 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 in astonishment.

Half an hour later, the announcement came that both of the two received a permanent exclusion from international competitions organized by the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF).

Chen Zhong and another Chinese player Liu Xiaobo failed to get a medal.

(Xinhua News Agency August 23, 2008)

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