Shin vanquishes her Olympic foeKorean fencer Shin A-lam vindicated herself on Saturday by beating the same opponent who dashed her bid for a metal in epee during the London Olympics last year.
Shin defeated Britta Heidemann of Germany 6-5 in the women’s final during a World Cup epee competition in Rio de Janeiro.
It was the first encounter between the two since the 2012 Olympics when Heidemann beat Shin in a sudden death round after tying 5-5.
In London, Shin would have advanced to the final thanks to the priority she was awarded before the duel but the one second left did not elapse while Shin defended against Heidemann’s attacks three times. Korean coaches appealed to officials about the clock and a crying, disheartened Shin sat on the piste for nearly an hour, but the judges’ call stood.
AFP picked the event as one of the five most controversial judging decisions in Olympic history, and the International Fencing Federation awarded Shin a special medal honoring her “aspiration to win and respect for the rules.”
In Rio de Janeiro, Shin, who beat No. 1 Sun Yujie of China 15-11 in the semifinal, kept her composure against Heidemann.
In a telephone interview with Maeil Business News, Shin said that she wanted to prove that she could outclass the former World No. 1.
“I felt pressure after realizing that I would face Heidemann in the final,” Shin told MBN. “But, I thought about my training and how I felt [during the London Olympics] and told myself, ‘OK, let’s go for it.’?”
Shin told MBN that she had a chance to talk briefly with Heidemann after the event and that they exchanged words of encouragement.
“I think we put the London Olympics behind us and made amends,” Shin said.
This was her first international title since the London Olympics. (Shin received a silver medal in the team epeeevent at the London Games). She has struggled in recent months, finishing 34th in a World Cup event held in Barcelona in March.
But, she regained confidence by winning a national team qualifier held in Haenam, South Jeolla, on May 11. She will compete in the Summer Universiade to be held in Kazan, capital of Tatarstan, Russia, later this year.
Shin is sixth in the world rankings for the women’s epee event with 150 points. She will jump to third place with the 32 points she earned from her victory in Brazil.
Shin has left for Havana, Cuba, where the Women Epee Grand Prix will be held beginning tomorrow. She will return to Korea on May 27.
By Moon Gwang-lip [firstname.lastname@example.org]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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