Photo: Asley Gonzalez
Cuban judoka Asley Gonzalez, the champion in the 90-kilo weight class at the recently concluded World Judo Championships in Rio de Janeiro, said someone offered him a bribe to throw the gold medal match, official media reported Wednesday.
Gonzalez did not indicate who tried to bribe him but said he was offered between $15,000 and $20,000 to purposely lose the middleweight contest.
“They showed me these figures on a cellphone to try (to see) if I would lose the final, but my dream of being world champion and my principals made sure I never wavered,” the 24-year-old, who won silver in the same weight class at the 2012 London Olympics, said.
Gonzalez defeated Georgia’s Varlam Liparteliani in the gold-medal match at the world championships, which concluded on Sunday.
“I couldn’t let down my coach, Justo Noda, my people and the revolution, which has always instilled honor and dignity in us above all,” the athlete said.
During an official ceremony Monday in Havana to welcome home Cuba’s delegation, Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel had mentioned the attempt to bribe Gonzalez.
Diaz-Canel said the Cuban judo team had provided a “lesson” for all of the island’s athletes with its performance in Brazil.