Tuesday 12 December 2017

Fencing controversy takes shine off Shemyakina gold for Ukraine

Fencing gold medallist Yana Shemyakina (C) of Ukraine poses on podium with silver medallist Britta Heidemann (L) of Germany and bronze medallist Sun Yujie of China
Fencing gold medallist Yana Shemyakina (C) of Ukraine poses on podium with silver medallist Britta Heidemann (L) of Germany and bronze medallist Sun Yujie of China

YANA Shemyakina won Ukraine's first-ever individual fencing gold at the ExCeL last night - but it came following one of the biggest controversies the sport has ever seen.

South Korean Shin A Lam left without a medal in the women's epee, but with the sympathies of everyone in the crowd after spending an hour on the piste, much of it in tears, while an appeal into her semi-final defeat to Germany's 2008 champion Britta Heidemann went on.

The 25-year-old world number 12 had thought she was through to the final when, to her horror and that of her coach Shim Jaesung, the clock was reset from zero to one second.

The score was 5-5 at the time, but that would have been good enough for her under the rule where one fencer is awarded "priority" when a contest goes into sudden death.

But when the action resumed under the instruction of Austrian referee Barbara Csar Heidemann scored a do-or-die hit that eventually - after officials watched replay after replay and then went into huddles - put her through to face Shemyakina.

At one point the audience could hardly believe their ears when they were told that International Fencing Federation rules required the Koreans to lodge money - an unspecified amount - before the formal appeal could be heard.

A distraught Shin never left the stage throughout, the crowd having been told that if she left it was an acceptance of defeat.

The furious Korean coach launched an appeal against the decision that had allowed the fight to continue after the clock changed.

The bronze medal match and the final both had to be put back while the row went on, but almost 75 minutes later Shin was led off.

Amazingly, she was back on a few minutes later, but from 11-11 with under two minutes left she lost to world number one Sun Yujie.

Heidemann could not capitalise on her fortune as Shemyakina won the title fight.

Ruta Meilutyte claimed a gold medal for Lithuania in the 100 metres breaststroke.

The 15-year-old led from start to finish to touch in one minute 05.47 seconds as she held off a fast-finishing Rebecca Soni, the Beijing silver medallist.

American Matt Grevers claimed the 100m backstroke crown in a new Olympic record while his countrywoman Missy Franklin took the women's equivalent and Frenchman Yannick Agnel won the 200 metres freestyle to claim his second Olympic title in 24 hours.

Ye Shiwen returned to the Olympic pool after her other-worldly 400 metres individual medley swim to easily head the field in the heats of the shorter medley event today.

The 16-year-old produced a mind-boggling final 50m freestyle yesterday that was quicker than Ryan Lochte, the winner of the men's equivalent.

She was easily quickest in the 200m IM today, in which she is world champion, her time of two minutes 08.90 seconds, 1.61secs ahead of Kirsty Coventry.

Romanian shooter Alin George Moldoveanu won a titanic tussle with world number one Niccolo Campriani of Italy to claim Olympic gold in the men's 10m air rifle.

Moldoveanu held his nerve with a final shot of 10.3 to hold off his rival, who finished just 0.6 points behind.

The duo both topped the qualification by equalling the Olympic record and swapped top spots in the final a number of times before Moldoveanu prevailed.

Behind Campriani, Gagan Narang won a bronze medal for India.

There was no fairytale ending for France's most decorated Olympian as 40-year-old fencing star Laura Flessel-Colovic lost in the last 16 of the women's epee at the ExCeL.

Champion when the event was first staged in 1996, Flessel-Colovic went on to add team gold in Atlanta, individual bronze and silver at the next two Games and also team bronze in Athens.

She was given the honour of carrying the French flag at Friday's opening ceremony, but after beating American Courtney Hurley 15-12 in her first fight, Flessel-Colovic lost 15-13 to Romania's European champion and world number four Simona Gherman.

The five-time medallist was in floods of tears as she took the cheers of the crowd, hugged her daughter and then made her exit.

There were gold medals in the judo for Japan's Kaori Matsumoto in the women's under-57kg division and Russian Mansur Isaev in the men's under-73kg division.

China's Li Xueying took the gold in the women's 58kg weightlifting division while Kim Un Guk triumphed to win gold in style for North Korea in the men's 62kg competition which saw Olympic and world weightlifting records tumble.

Chinese divers Cao Yuan and Zhang Yanquan claimed victory in the 10 metre platform synchro.

Mexico's German Sanchez and Ivan Garcia Navarro took silver ahead of Nick McCrory and David Boudia of the United States who, with an 8.82 points gap over Tom Daley and Pete Waterfield, were comfortably clear in bronze.

At Wimbledon, top seed Roger Federer eased into round three with a 6-2 6-2 victory over Julien Benneteau while, in the women's event, Serena and Venus Williams claimed straightforward victories but world number one Victoria Azarenka was taken to three sets by Romania's Irina-Camelia Begu.

China retained their gold medal in the men's team gymnastics with Japan second and Great Britain - who were downgraded to third after a Japanese appeal - taking bronze.

Press Association

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport