Tearful Korean Olympic fencer 'in line for award'

Posted at 08/01/2012 3:16 AM

LONDON - The South Korean fencer who staged a tearful hour-long sit-in protest over judging at the Olympics is in line for a special sportsmanship award, her country's top Games official said Tuesday.

Park Yong-Sung, president of South Korea's National Olympic Committee, said the International Fencing Federation (FIE) made the offer after admitting a time-keeping problem in the controversy involving Shin A-Lam.

In amazing scenes Shin, sobbing and shaking her head, refused to leave the piste for more than an hour after Monday's epee semi-final defeat to Germany's Britta Heidemann.

The two had been locked at 5-5 inside the extra minute period. The German then scored the winning hit, but the Korean coach claimed the assault came after the last second on the clock was up.

However, South Korea's appeals failed and Shin was eventually persuaded to leave the piste. Shortly afterwards, she lost the bronze-medal match against China's Sun Hujie.

Park said the FIE had conceded their official clock may have played a role in stoking the row because it is not accurate to fractions of a second, as in some other sports.

"We'll discuss with the FIE what is the best and proper way to recognise her sportsmanship and fairness in the spirit of the Olympic movement," Park told journalists.

The FEI could not immediately confirm Park's comments but a spokeswoman said the governing body had held talks with the South Korean Olympic committee earlier on Tuesday.