London, England – Ukraine's Yana Shemyakina won a controversial women's epee competition Monday at the London Games after an apparent clock error led to South Korea's Shin A Lam losing a spot in the gold medal match.
Shemyakina won the gold, beating Germany's Britta Heidemann in the final match by a 9-8 score, but her win was overshadowed by what happened in the semifinal bout between Heidemann and Shin.
Heidemann defeated Shin in the semifinals, but not before officials were forced to weigh a protest logged by Shin's team.
Heidemann and the Korean were tied at 5-5 with just one second remaining in the match and Shin, who was awarded priority before the start of extra time, would've won if the bout ended in a tie. However, when the final second was actually contested the clock became stuck, giving Heidemann a few extra seconds to record the winning point, which she did to take the match in 6-5 fashion.
"Every referee said that he understood our position, yet they have done nothing," said Shin's coach Shim Jae Sung. "It was one second left and she made three moves. The clock was set back to one second when it was already on zero."
When the match ended, a tearful Shin sat down on the piste while her team made an official protest. After 20 minutes, the tournament director declared Heidemann the winner. However, Shin and the Korean camp still refused to leave the piste and the competition was held up for over an hour before officials finally persuaded them to go.
"It was a very difficult hour," said Shin. "While I was up there (on the piste) I've been thinking of all the time that I've spent training for the Olympics."
After failing to secure a spot in the gold medal match, Shin also lost her bid for bronze, dropping a 15-11 decision to China's Sun Yujie.
Heidemann also pushed the gold medal match to extra time, but Shemyakina scored the final point to claim Ukraine's first-ever individual fencing gold.