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| Event type

Épée, Individual, Women

Date30 July 2012
StatusOlympic
LocationNorth Greenwich Arena, Greenwich, London
Participants37 from 21 countries
FormatSingle-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 Shemiakina 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 Sin 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 Sin 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 Sin to stay on the platform until a further appeal to the FIE is considered. Sin 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.”

Sin 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 Shemiakina 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.

PosNrFencerNOCSeed
1Yana ShemiakinaUKR11Gold
2Britta HeidemannGER17Silver
3Sun YujieCHN1Bronze
4Sin A-RamKOR12
5Anca MăroiuROU3
6Simona GhermanROU4
7Rossella FiamingoITA7
8Sarra BesbesTUN33
9Li NaCHN2
10Monika SozanskaGER5
11Ana BrânzăROU6
12Choi In-JeongKOR10
13Laura Flessel-ColovicFRA14
14Tiffany GéroudetSUI18
15Anna SivkovaRUS22
16Maya LawrenceUSA29
17Luo XiaojuanCHN8
18Mara NavarriaITA9
19Jeong Hyo-JeongKOR13
20Magdalena PiekarskaPOL15
21Bianca Del CarrettoITA19
22Courtney HurleyUSA24
23Lyubov ShutovaRUS25
24Sherraine Schalm-MacKayCAN26
25Emese Szász-KovácsHUN28
26Nozomi SatoJPN36
27Violetta KolobovaRUS37
28Corinna LawrenceGBR43
29Imke DuplitzerGER57
30Kseniya PanteleievaUKR58
31Olena KryvytskaUKR64
32Hsu Jo-TingTPE146
33Mona AbdulazizEGY39
34Susie ScanlanUSA41
35Yeung Chui LingHKG47
36María MartínezVEN55
37Cáterin BravoCHI66

Round One (30 July 2012)

Winner of each match advanced to round two.

Bout #1 Sun YujieCHN bye
Bout #2 Imke DuplitzerGER 15 – 10María MartínezVEN
Bout #3 Tiffany GéroudetSUI bye
Bout #4 Magdalena PiekarskaPOL bye
Bout #5 Maya LawrenceUSA bye
Bout #6 Mara NavarriaITA bye
Bout #7 Rossella FiamingoITA bye
Bout #8 Nozomi SatoJPN bye
Bout #9 Ana BrânzăROU bye
Bout #10 Hsu Jo-TingTPE 15 – 10Mona AbdulazizEGY
Bout #11 Yana ShemiakinaUKR bye
Bout #12 Lyubov ShutovaRUS bye
Bout #13 Laura Flessel-ColovicFRA bye
Bout #14 Courtney HurleyUSA bye
Bout #15 Corinna LawrenceGBR 15 – 12Cáterin BravoCHI
Bout #16 Simona GhermanROU bye
Bout #17 Anca MăroiuROU bye
Bout #18 Olena KryvytskaUKR 15 – 13Susie ScanlanUSA
Bout #19 Anna SivkovaRUS bye
Bout #20 Jeong Hyo-JeongKOR bye
Bout #21 Sin A-RamKOR bye
Bout #22 Sherraine Schalm-MacKayCAN bye
Bout #23 Monika SozanskaGER bye
Bout #24 Violetta KolobovaRUS bye
Bout #25 Sarra BesbesTUN bye
Bout #26 Luo XiaojuanCHN bye
Bout #27 Choi In-JeongKOR bye
Bout #28 Emese Szász-KovácsHUN bye
Bout #29 Britta HeidemannGER bye
Bout #30 Bianca Del CarrettoITA bye
Bout #31 Kseniya PanteleievaUKR 15 – 11Yeung Chui LingHKG
Bout #32 Li NaCHN bye

Round Two (30 July 2012)

Winner of each match advanced to round three.

Bout #1 Sun YujieCHN 15 – 10Imke DuplitzerGER
Bout #2 Tiffany GéroudetSUI 15 – 14Magdalena PiekarskaPOL
Bout #3 Maya LawrenceUSA 15 – 12Mara NavarriaITA
Bout #4 Rossella FiamingoITA 15 – 11Nozomi SatoJPN
Bout #5 Ana BrânzăROU 15 – 8Hsu Jo-TingTPE
Bout #6 Yana ShemiakinaUKR 15 – 12Lyubov ShutovaRUS
Bout #7 Laura Flessel-ColovicFRA 15 – 12Courtney HurleyUSA
Bout #8 Simona GhermanROU 15 – 9Corinna LawrenceGBR
Bout #9 Anca MăroiuROU 15 – 10Olena KryvytskaUKR
Bout #10 Anna SivkovaRUS 15 – 12Jeong Hyo-JeongKOR
Bout #11 Sin A-RamKOR 15 – 12Sherraine Schalm-MacKayCAN
Bout #12 Monika SozanskaGER 15 – 14Violetta KolobovaRUS
Bout #13 Sarra BesbesTUN 15 – 9Luo XiaojuanCHN
Bout #14 Choi In-JeongKOR 15 – 12Emese Szász-KovácsHUN
Bout #15 Britta HeidemannGER 14 – 13Bianca Del CarrettoITA
Bout #16 Li NaCHN 15 – 10Kseniya PanteleievaUKR

Round Three (30 July 2012)

Winner of each match advanced to quarter-finals.

Bout #1 Sun YujieCHN 15 – 10Tiffany GéroudetSUI
Bout #2 Rossella FiamingoITA 15 – 7Maya LawrenceUSA
Bout #3 Yana ShemiakinaUKR 14 – 13Ana BrânzăROU
Bout #4 Simona GhermanROU 15 – 13Laura Flessel-ColovicFRA
Bout #5 Anca MăroiuROU 15 – 11Anna SivkovaRUS
Bout #6 Sin A-RamKOR 14 – 9Monika SozanskaGER
Bout #7 Sarra BesbesTUN 12 – 11Choi In-JeongKOR
Bout #8 Britta HeidemannGER 14 – 13Li NaCHN

Quarter-Finals (30 July 2012)

Winner of each match advanced to semi-finals.

Bout #1 Sun YujieCHN 15 – 14Rossella FiamingoITA
Bout #2 Yana ShemiakinaUKR 15 – 14Simona GhermanROU
Bout #3 Sin A-RamKOR 15 – 14Anca MăroiuROU
Bout #4 Britta HeidemannGER 15 – 12Sarra BesbesTUN

Semi-Finals (30 July 2012)

Winner of each match advanced to final round.

Bout #1 Yana ShemiakinaUKR 14 – 13Sun YujieCHN
Bout #2 Britta HeidemannGER 6 – 5Sin A-RamKOR

Final Round (30 July 2012)

Bout 1/2 Yana ShemiakinaUKR 9 – 8Britta HeidemannGER
Bout 3/4 Sun YujieCHN 15 – 11Sin A-RamKOR