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South Korea urges IOC to probe fencer's defeat


AP Sports Writer

Updated August 3, 2012

(AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

LONDON (AP) The South Korean Olympic team said Friday it is asking for an investigation into the defeat of a fencer who wept before the crowd while she waited for an appeal to be decided.

The South Korean committee said it wants an investigation by the International Olympic Committee. It also wants the governing body of fencing to apologize and "restore the honor" of fencer Shin A-lam.

The apology is necessary "to restore the pride of the Korean people and also try to reinstate the honor of the athlete Shin," South Korean Olympic official Choi Jong-jun said in comments published by the Olympic News Service.

Shin sat tearfully on the fencing strip Monday awaiting a decision after a chaotic end to her semifinal against Britta Heidemann of Germany. A final second was put back on the clock, allowing the German fencer to make a winning attack.

Choi said the governing body acknowledged "mechanical errors" with timing equipment. Shin later lost the bronze medal match. Choi acknowledged the possibility of the IOC's giving an extra medal was "very low."

"This is not a case of an outright faulty decision made by the referee. Rather, this was a more systematic error," he said. "In the history of fencing, this type of accident that deals with the millisecond has not happened."

The IOC said in a statement that the South Korean Olympic committee "is seeking clarification on this matter and has asked the IOC to assist in this endeavor."

The governing body of fencing declined comment but has said since the disputed match that timing equipment needs to be updated to show milliseconds and allow fencers and fans to understand the precise time remaining.

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