Germany collected its first Olympic medal on Monday when Britta Heidemann won silver in fencing – but not until after a last-second result in the semi-final which her opponent’s coach furiously contested.
Heidemann and the South Korean fencer Shin A Lam ended their semi final undecided, meaning a sudden death extra minute was called for – with the first to land a hit to be the winner. Shin had priority, meaning that if no hit was made, she would win, Die Welt newspaper reported.
The nerve-wracking minute drew to a close with no conclusive hit, until Heidemann hit with 0:01 left on the clock – less than a second. Yet the clock had been reset to provide the extra second after what the BBC said was an infringement by Shin.
As Heidemann celebrated and Shin sat down in tears, the South Korean coach contested the result, causing more than an hour’s delay, during which time Shin remained on the piste – if she left it would be considered acceptance of the result.
After the South Korean protests and appeals were considered and rejected Shin had to fight for the bronze, but lost – and Heidemann faced Ukrainian fencer Yana Schemyakina. She lost that, but claimed the silver medal, Germany’s first metal of the Olympics.
“Of course I would have liked to have had the last hit,” she said afterwards. “But I am satisfied nonetheless. I am happy for Jana, she is a nice girl.” And she expressed sympathy for Shin, saying, “I am sorry for her.”
Tuesday sees a good chance for gold in the eventing where Ingrid Klimke shares the lead with Swedish rider Sara Algotsson-Ostholt. Germany’s world champion Michael Jung was lying in fourth on Tuesday.
Table tennis star Timo Boll was unexpectedly knocked out of competition on Monday after losing against Romanian Adrian Crisan. “I simply want to cry. I am very disappointed and will need a few days to get over this,” he said.