A Lam Shin to be awarded ‘special medal’ after fencing controversy
Fencing’s governing body FIE announced tonight that heartbroken Korean A Lam Shin will receive “a special medal” after she felt she was robbed of a proper one in the women’s epee last night.
The medal will be for “aspiration to win and respect for the rules,” said the International Fencing Federation in a statement.
But Shin said: “It does not make me feel better because it’s not an Olympic medal.
“I don’t accept the result because I believe it was a mistake.”‘
Shin was speaking back at the ExCeL Arena, scene of the biggest controversy of the Games so far at the end of her semi-final with Germany’s 2008 Olympic champion Britta Heidemann.
The 25-year-old was in floods of tears and stayed on the piste for over an hour while arguments raged about the result, but her defeat stood and she then lost the bronze medal match as well.
Shin thought she was through to the final when the clock went to zero, but Austrian referee Barbara Csar then ruled there was actually still a second left, during which time Heidemann scored.
Korean Olympic Committee president Park Yung-Sung revealed today the FIE had made the offer of a consolation prize and recognised that they had acknowledged that “you can have human error.”
He added: “They know they are very sorry about her and they have to recognise her sporting spirit.”
The FIE said they had, as yet, no confirmation of the date or place of the medal award ceremony.
The Korean team’s protest was rejected this morning and Park also said: “They cannot make a new decision after rejecting our appeal, but they are sorry and sympathise with Shin so they want to recognise her in the spirit of the Olympics.
Shin, who said through an interpreter that she had slept for only about two hours last night, could still win a “real” medal in the team event on Saturday – and could face Heidemann once more in the final.
Park blamed the timing system for the incident, claiming it was not accurate enough.
“They have never experienced this before with three attacks in the last second. Their timekeeping machine only has seconds, not fractions of a second. It cannot handle a situation like yesterday. That they admit.”
In their written appeal the Korean team had said: “I can’t agree with the decision of the referee. Who can believe this situation? The Korean team cannot accept this situation.”
But an official statement issued in response read: “It is for the referee to decide how much time remains. The referee confirmed the last hit. Neither the DT (the technical director) nor the refereeing delegations can change a question of fact. The DT decides to reject the protest.”
Meanwhile, Park confirmed that the Korean team had accepted an apology from their Swiss counterparts after footballer Michel Morganella was expelled from the Games for directing an allegedly racist insult at South Koreans on Twitter.
The 23-year-old defender was sent home after posting the message in the wake of his team’s 2-1 defeat to South Korea on Sunday. Morganella has also apologised and his Twitter account has been deleted.