Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): North Greenwich Arena, Greenwich, London
Date Started: July 30, 2012
Date Finished: July 30, 2012
Format: Single-elimination tournament.
The seedings expected the event to deliver an all-Chinese final. This would be a repeat of the 2011 World Championship final where teenager [Sun Yujie] had defeated her vastly more experienced teammate [Li Na]. Things did not go to plan although not perhaps in the wild, erratic manner of the men’s event. Li Na was despatched by [Britta Heidemann] in the round of 16 and when the dust settled only Sun of the top 10 seeds remained in contention at the semi-final stage.
The first semi-final saw a monumental upset when [Yana Shemyakina] fought a brilliant tactical fight to eliminate Sun Yujie but even this was overshadowed by the controversial finish to the other semi. Heidemann and Korea’s [Shin A-Lam] fought a low scoring, cagey bout which was tied at 5-all as time began to run out. What happened next is a source of great controversy and has never entirely been explained in its entirety. What appears to have happened is this; the two women score simultaneous hits which nullified each other’s score but brought the clock down to one second.
They quickly attacked again and once more scored simultaneously but the clock did not move.
In top level fencing the referee’s duties are separated from that of the timekeeper and the timekeeper presses a button to start the clock only after the call of “Allez!” from the referee.
If the timekeeper is slow in pressing the button the electronic system can register a hit in a fraction of a section.
At 0:01, Heidemann anticipates the call and begins her attack early, with another double hit as the result. There is only a tiny fraction of a second between the time starting when the timekeeper presses the button and stopping automatically when Heidemann’s point is depressed. As a result, the time still shows 0:01. The two restart and, amazingly, the same scenario occurs once more with a double hit and no time taken off the clock. What now seems to happen is that the timekeeper mistakenly restarts the clock and time runs out. Since the clock has been running without the two fencers in action it is obvious that an error has occurred so the referee orders the countdown clock to be reset to 0:01. Heidemann is again quick off the mark but this time she clearly scores a hit and seemingly earns her place in the final. As a distraught Shin begins sobbing the Korean coach quickly launches an appeal against the decision. After viewing television replays the decision is upheld but the Korean coach orders Shin to stay on the platform until a further appeal to the FIE is considered. Shin waits for an hour before being gently escorted away when the second appeal is also rejected
The written appeal read as follows (sic):
“Dear DT Members, I can’t agree the decision of the referee, because it rested 1 second and there were 3 times coup double and the time always rests 1 second and they fixed time because the
time passed and 1 second rest. German fencer attempt by fente and remise but one second rests still. It can’t be possible during 1 second 4 actions. Who can believe this situation? I want fix this situation calculating time. Korean team cannot accept this situation.”
Shin would later face more heartbreak when she lost the bronze medal bout against Sun.
After the drama of the semi-finals the gold medal decider between [Yana Shemyakina] and [Britta Heidemann] could well have been an anti-climax. Indeed when the first period was ended prematurely by the referee because of the lack of combativity shown by the two finalists it seemed to be heading that way. Thankfully the action soon heated up with the score at the end of the final period tied with 8 points apiece. Heidemann played the aggressor in the extra time but, after two double hits, she missed with an attempted fleche and was wide open to a counter from the Ukrainian who took advantage to win gold.
|4||Sin A-Lam||25||South Korea||KOR||12|
|12||Choi In-Jeong||22||South Korea||KOR||10|
|16||Maya Lawrence||32||United States||USA||29|
|19||Jeong Hyo-Jeong||28||South Korea||KOR||13|
|21||Bianca Del Carretto||26||Italy||ITA||19|
|22||Courtney Hurley||21||United States||USA||24|
|28||Corinna Lawrence||22||Great Britain||GBR||43|
|32||Hsu Jo-Ting||22||Chinese Taipei||TPE||146|
|34||Susie Scanlan||22||United States||USA||41|
|35||Yeung Chui Ling||29||Hong Kong||HKG||47|