SPORTS

South Korean officials say fencing federation to recognize Shin's sportsmanship

07/31/2012 01:25 EDT | Updated 09/30/2012 05:12 EDT
LONDON - The International Fencing Federation plans to recognize the sportsmanship of the South Korean fencer who was kept waiting on the mat for an hour while judges discussed an appeal following her loss, South Korean Olympic officials said Tuesday.

South Korean Olympic Committee president Park Yong-sung said the fencing federation praised Shin A-lam's following the defeat Monday to Britta Heidemann in the semifinals of the women's individual epee.

"They are very sorry and sympathetic to her," Park said. "They are going to recognize it with some kind of event."

The appeal delayed competition more than an hour. Competition rules forced Shin to wait on the fencing strip, leaving the South Korean crying before a crowd of 8,000, before the decision was announced.

Officials said Monday they needed the time to make sure they were following procedures correctly in what they called a "delicate situation."

In its appeal, South Korea questioned the timekeeping toward the end of the match. With one second left on the clock, the match was restarted four times as both players scored simultaneously each time, automatically stopping the clock.

The South Koreans said in their appeal that it impossible for all for actions to happen during one second.

"Who can believe this situation?" they wrote.

Fencing officials said in a statement Tuesday that it had no choice but to reject the appeal, as it is up to the referee to determine how much time remains in a match. They said they could not "change a question of fact."

Shin later lost her bronze-medal match to Sun Yujie of China, while Heidemann, the defending Olympic champion, went on to lose the final 9-8 to Yana Shemyakina of Ukraine.

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