London 2012

Controversy reigns in epee

Shemyakina wins gold after Shin protest delays final

Last Updated: 30/07/12 10:32pm

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Shin A Lam: Was in tears after being denied a place in the final of the women's epee

Shin A Lam: Was in tears after being denied a place in the final of the women's epee

Yana Shemyakina won the women's epee to claim Ukraine's first individual fencing Olympic gold medal in a final that was delayed following the biggest sporting controversy of the Olympics so far.

Shemyakina defeated Germany's defending champion Britta Heidemann, claiming the decisive hit in sudden-death extra-time as the fight headed into the final 30 seconds.

But the main drama of the evening at the ExCeL came in the semi-finals as South Korean's Shin A Lam was denied a place in the gold medal contest

The 25-year-old thought she was through to the final when, to her horror and that of her coach Shim Jaesung, the clock was reset from zero to one second.

And when the action in her clash against Heidemann resumed, the German scored a last-gasp hit that set up the showdown with Shemyakana.


The Korean coach furiously launched an appeal against the decision that had allowed the fight to continue and it was nearly half an hour before it was confirmed that Heidemann's win stood.

Shin broke down in tears and while her opponent celebrated she remained on the piste with the crowd being told she was doing so because a formal appeal was being considered and if she left the field of play it would be deemed an acceptance of defeat.

Just before 7.40pm - nearly an hour after the incident - it was announced that part of the rules say that the Koreans had to lodge money for the appeal to be valid.

Still Shin remained on the piste, bringing back memories of fellow Korean Byun Jong-il's sit-down strike during the boxing in Seoul in 1988.

Just before 8pm an official came onto the piste to encourage Shin to leave, but she was reluctant to go. However, she finally was led off and dissolved into tears again.

The announcer asked for respect to be shown to the athletes and judges and the world number 12 received a round of applause as she left, with the official result still to be announced to the spectators.


She had to come back on a few minutes later for the bronze medal match, but from 11-11 with under two minutes left she lost to world number one Sun Yujie of China.

"I think it's unfair. The one second was over - I should have won," Shin said of her semi-final defeat.

"The hour was really difficult, but I thought if I got a yellow card (for leaving the piste) I might not be able to fight for bronze.

"I'm very sorry for the spectators. They spent a lot of money and I just don't understand how this could have happened.

"I feel sorry for the Korean fans. They have cheered me a lot. I was in the best condition of all time and I expected to win."

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