By sportswriter Wang Zijiang
MANCHESTER, England, May 19 (Xinhua) -- Moroccan referee Tarik Benradi, who disqualified China's Olympic champion Zheng Shuyin in the world taekwondo championships final here on Sunday, should be banned for life, Zheng's coach said on Sunday.
Zheng, who took a dominant lead of 20-10 in the closing stages of the women's over-73kg category final on Friday against the U.K.'s Bianca Walkden, was disqualified by Benradi, who alleged that the Chinese athlete had committed 10 fouls during the bout. Zheng's disqualification meant that Walkden secured her third successive world taekwondo title.
"We hope World Taekwondo will give us justice," said Guan Jianmin, head coach of the Chinese national team.
Zheng, who is also President of the Chinese Taekwondo Federation, said China has made an appeal to World Taekwondo, the sport's world governing body.
"We made two requests in the appeal. Firstly, the decision should be overturned. Secondly, the referee should be banned for life."
"We don't actually care much about winning or losing the match. We are just angry with his behavior. It is not simply a mistake because everyone makes mistakes. His decision is destructive to the fair and just competitive environment for taekwondo. This is the biggest problem."
Booing drowned out any cheers from British fans at the Manchester Arena as Walkden was announced as the winner, and Zheng refused to acknowledge the Briton's victory before collapsing on the podium and leaving the competition area in tears.
A source close to World Taekwondo told Xinhua that Benradi has not been seen since the controversial match and has already left Manchester.
"It is very difficult for him to officiate at world competitions," the source said.
Benradi was named male referee of the year by World Taekwondo in 2015 and one of the five best referees at the 2017 World Championships. Xinhua tried to contact him for comment but received no reply.
Guan said he is also waiting for "an apology" from Benradi, which he says is more important than a gold medal.
"The competition is over but we still hope our voice can be heard across the world. The competition should be held in a fair, just, open and reasonable way," the coach said.
China's two-time Olympic champion Wu Jingyu, who won the women's 49kg silver medal on Saturday, also blamed Benradi for ruining what should have been a "perfect" world championships.
"Every other match was held perfectly," said Wu, competing in her first major event since having her first child in 2017. "I have met such unfavorable decisions in my career, but this time the referee has gone too far."