Lifestyle & Belief

South Korean fencer stages sit-down protest over controversial loss in Olympics semi-final


A Lam Shin of Korea sits and waits to hear the outcome of an appeal to overturn the judges ruling on an issue of a delayed clock that caused her to loss her bout against Britta Heidemann of Germany during the Women's Epee Individual Fencing Semifinals on Day 3 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 30, 2012 in London, England.


Ezra Shaw

London 2012 had its first sit-down protest by an athlete after fencing judges controversially awarded the epee semi-final to German Britta Heidemann over Shin A-Lam, of South Korea. 

To compound the controversy, it emerged that in order to lodge an official protest, a sum of money had to be deposited with the judging commission, the London Daily Telegraph reported.

Shin, 25, burst into tears and referees were booed over their decision to award the contest between Shin and Heidemann to the German Monday night.

According to the Telegraph, Shin had thought she had won through to the final — and had reportedly certainly won the backing of the crowd — however the clock was reset from zero to one second.

According to the Associated Press, Shin and Heidemann then played three times for the winning point, each time with just one second left on the clock.

Heidemann, the reigning Olympic champion, eventually scored the winning hit.

Shin then sat down on the fencing piste at the ExCeL fencing center for nearly an hour, refusing to move, as her coach appealed.

According to Reuters, Shin had to be physically escorted off the fencing piste. Many spectators gave her a standing ovation.

Heidemann, by contrast, "ran off the strip screaming with joy."

Later, in a delayed final, Yana Shemyakina of Ukraine beat Heidemann 9-8 to win the gold medal, the AP reported. 

Shin eventually regrouped to take part in a bronze medal bout, but lost that, too.

"I think it's unfair because the one second was over," the AP quoted Shin as saying through an interpreter. "I should have won, so it's unfair."

She added that "the hour was really difficult for me" and she felt "sorry for the spectators. They paid a lot to see matches instead of wasting their time for an hour. I feel also sorry for the people in South Korea, who have always supported me." 

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