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Osmel Almaguer:Until recently I would to identify myself as a poet, a cultural promoter and a university student. Now that my notions on poetry have changed slightly, that I got a new job, and that I have finished my studies, I’m forced to ask myself: Am I a different person? In our introductions, we usually mention our social status instead of looking within ourselves for those characteristics that define us as unique and special. The fact that I’m scared of spiders, that I’ve never learned to dance, that I get upset over the simplest things, that culminating moments excite me, that I’m a perfectionist, composed but impulsive, childish but antiquated: these are clues that lead to who I truly am.

A Cuban Sports Hero Retires

March 13, 2014 | Print Print |

Osmel Almaguer

Angel Valodia Matos in his moment of rage.

HAVANA TIMES — A Cuban taekwondo giant said farewell to the sport some weeks ago. I am referring to Angel Valodia Matos, Cuba’s first Olympic champion in the discipline.

He looked happy before the cameras, expressing his gratitude for the tribute paid him by the people and authorities of Holguin, promising he would never leave the city.

As they were airing the news, I turned around and gave my father the broad strokes of Valodia’s career, about which he had expressed an interest.

“He was suspended for hitting a referee during an Olympic match,” I told him, feeling my brief version of events did not do this man (whom we could well consider a hero) any justice.

I added: “It’s true that shouldn’t happen, that it’s an act of violence against a helpless person. But, if you think about it carefully, that bastard of a referee wasn’t so helpless after all. He was protected by a corrupt sports system.”

I continued: “The last thing that referee could have imagined was Valodia’s reaction. Usually, injustices in the sports world go unpunished. There’s a lot of money under the rug because of interests that are often political.”

“Valodia, however, wasn’t intimidated, not by the people nor by the fact he was in a country that was strange to him nor by the risk of throwing his sports career out the window. The anger went to his head and he struck the corrupt official with his leg.”

“With this kick, Valodia was defending his right to winning fairly, his years of training, his respect towards the sport and sportspeople and even his honor as a Cuban. Perhaps those unscrupulous people who profit at the expense of the dreams of sportspeople will now think twice about going through with their misdeeds. I have faith that this is so – otherwise, Valodia’s sacrifice will have been in vain.”

 

http://mastaekwondo.com/2010/09/lamento-grandemente-haber-hecho-esto/


What's your opinion?

  • Moses Patterson

    I can hardly believe what Osmel has written. Martial arts, in general, and taekwondo, in particular, are based on self-control. What Angel exhibited in the match that day is the polar opposite of every thing that taekwondo and the Olympics stands for. On top of all that it was cowardly beyond measure. To kick someone in the head is bad enough and should be done only within the confines of a controlled sport or in defense of your life or the life of a loved one. But to do so against an older and unprepared person without warning is beneath contempt. I remember this match and the fervor that followed. There were scores of other competitors who wanted a piece of Angel without pads and no rules. It doesn’t matter if he was being unfairly judged. There are appropriate channels to address these grievances. This man is no hero nor should he be.