No joint medal for S. Korean epee fencer after controversy: officials
The South Korean female epee fencer who lost her bid for gold in disputed circumstances will not earn a joint medal after all, officials said Friday.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has informed South Korean officials that it will not give an extra medal to Shin A-lam, who lost to Britta Heidemann of Germany in the semifinal bout last week in extra time, according to Choi Jong-jun, secretary general of the Korean Olympic Committee (KOC).
In that match, the German scored the winning hit in the dying moments but South Korean officials claimed that the decisive attack came after the last second was up. Toward the end, the match was restarted with one second left as Shin and Heidemann scored simultaneously, which automatically stopped the clock.
South Koreans have said the International Fencing Federation (FIE) acknowledged a possible problem with timekeeping, but the FIE nonetheless rejected South Korea's appeal because the decision by the officials on the field of play is final and it couldn't "change a question of fact."
According to Choi, Christophe Dubi, sports director for the IOC, told South Koreans that awarding a joint medal in a case such as Shin's isn't in the rule books.
"He said it's impossible to present an extra medal for issues other than clear violations of rules, such as referees' receiving a bribe," Choi said. "If the problem has to do with things like officiating, then there will be no joint medals."
Choi also said the KOC will also not file a complaint with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Shin's case.
"Our attorney has informed us that unless there is categorical evidence that the referee deliberately made lopsided calls, then the CAS won't review cases," Choi said. "Mechanical problems are also part of the game. We've decided it's not worth it to pursue an appeal with the CAS."
The KOC plans to ask the IOC to investigate the state of officiating in fencing, Choi added.
Shin is slated to receive a special award from the FIE before the end of the London Olympics for her sportsmanship. (Yonhap)