SOUTH Korea’s Shin A-lam returned to the fencing piste on Monday after making a one-hour protest against a controversial judge’s call that had cost her the chance of a gold medal.
A-lam was physically escorted off the piste after her team argued against the award of a winning touch to Germany’s Britta Heidemann in the epee semi-final.
Heidemann ran off screaming with joy after the initial awarding of the touch but was then called back to await the final decision of the judge.
The defending champion from Germany later went on to lose the final to Ukrainian Yana Shem-yakina while A-lam was beaten 15-11 by top seed Sun Yujie of China in the bronze-medal match.
After initial discussions resulted in Heidemann being awarded the final touch in the semi-final, a stunned A-lam did not move.
The Korean did not leave the piste as this would have indicated she accepted the decision of the judge, Austrian Barbara Csar. By staying, A-lam was exercising her rights under the rules.
An indelible image of A-lam will linger in the memory, a 25-year old looking dejected as she sits on a dramatically spot-lit piste, pristine in her white uniform with a towel draped over her shoulder.
The Korean was also surrounded by 7,000 screaming spectators, many unsure what was happening.
Her coach, Shim Jae-sung, lodged a written complaint that was ultimately rejected by the FIE (Federation International d’Escrime), fencing’s governing body. — Reuters