Castro blames "mafia" for Cuba's shortage of medals in Beijing

Society Materials 26 August 2008 04:06 (UTC +04:00)

Former Cuban president Fidel Castro on Monday blamed a "mafia" that he said managed to fool the International Olympic Committee and "shamelessly stole" medals Cuba should have won in Beijing.

Cuba won 24 medals at the games that ended Sunday, but did not earn any gold medals in boxing, a sport where the country has long been an amateur powerhouse. The communist nation fell to 11th place in the overall medals table from 27th place in Athens 2004. Just two of its medals were golds - in men's wrestling and men's 110 m hurdles, the dpa reported.

Without mentioning names, Castro complained in an article on the Olympics that referees "shamelessly stole the fights from two Cuban boxers in the semifinals."

The man who led Cuba for close to half-a-century is a great fan of sports and said his compatriots "were condemned in advance."

"It was a crime what they did with the young men from our boxing team, to complement the work of those who go about stealing athletes from the Third World," Castro said, with reference to the defections that have plagued Cuban boxing in recent years.

Castro warned that at the next Summer games in London in 2012 there will be a mix of "European chauvinism," "corruption of referees" and a "purchase of muscles and brains."

"I do not have to remain silent in the face of a mafia," Castro said.