Special award for Shin A-Lam

Fencing’s world governing body (FIE) have offered South Korean Shin A-lam a special award following her controversial elimination from her Olympic epee semi-final, Korean Olympic Committee President Park Yong-sung said today.

A day after a weeping Shin staged a one-hour protest and had to be physically escorted off the fencing piste following her loss to Britta Heidemann, Park said the FIE recognised there were issues with their timekeeping and apologised to Shin.

The FIE also praised Shin for competing in the bronze medal match, which she later lost to China’s Sun Yujie.

“I spoke to the FIE today. They never expected this kind of thing to happen in the last second, three attacks. Their timekeeping machine is only in seconds, not points of a second,” Park said.

“Because of this system design they could not handle the situation correctly yesterday, that they admit.”

The row erupted when two double-touches were recorded with a second to go and Shin thought she had triumphed. However, a single second was put back on the clock after some discussion.

Heidemann then unleashed a blistering surge forward, hitting Shin while also avoiding her blade. An FIE statement issued earlier today had said the technical director’s decision was final.

Asked whether Shin deserved to be awarded an Olympic medal Park said that was a matter for the International Olympic Committee to consider but the FIE wanted to recognise her sportsmanship and Olympic spirit.

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