The International Fencing Federation acknowledged on Tuesday that timekeeping could have been flawed in the Olympic epee semifinal involving a South Korean fencer, but upheld the victory for her German opponent and defending champion, South Korean Olympic officials said.
The federation apologized to Shin A-lam and hailed her sporting spirit after the controversial defeat on Monday to Britta Heidemann in the semifinals of the women's individual epee at the London Games on Monday.
"They are very sorry and sympathetic to her," said South Korean Olympic Committee president Park Yong-sung. "They are going to recognize it with some kind of event."
The South Koreans appealed the result, saying that Shin's match against Heidmann was already finished when the German was awarded the decisive point to win the semifinal 6-5.
While fencing officials were deliberating on what they called a "delicate situation," Shin had to wait for their decision for at least an hour on the fencing strip. She was crying with a crowd of about 8,000 watching.
The South Koreans claimed the timing of the match was problematic at the very end. With one second left on the clock, the match was restarted four times as both players scored simultaneously each time, automatically stopping the clock.
Fencing officials said in a statement that a referee gets to decide how much time remains in a match, and rejected the country's appeal by saying they could not "change a question of fact."
Shin later lost her bronze-medal match to Sun Yujie of China, while Heidemann, the defending Olympic champion, went on to lose the final 9-8 to Yana Shemyakina of Ukraine.