South Korea captured the silver medal in women's team epee fencing Saturday at the London Olympics.
At the ExCeL Arena, South Korea was routed by China 39-25. Shin A-lam, Jung Hyo-jung and Choi In-jeong and substitute Choi Eun-sook opened an early lead before the trio of Li Na, Sun Yujie and Xu Anqi built a big lead midway through the lopsided contest.
This was South Korea's sixth fencing medal in London.
South Korean fancers (from left) Choi In-jeong, Jung Hyo-jung, Shin A-lam and Choi Eun-sook pose at the award ceremony after winning silver medal in the women’s team epee at the London Olymic Games. (Yonhap News)
In the team competition, three fencers or one substitute fight a total of nine bouts, each lasting three minutes. The goal is to get to 45 points first or, failing that, to outlast the opponent and earn more points than the other team over those 27 minutes.
Fencers compete for the full three minutes or until one fencer earns enough points to increase the team total to a multiple of 5.
For instance, the target score for the opening bout is 5; it's 10 for the second, 15 for the third, and so forth. Epee is the only discipline that allows both fencers to score points on simultaneous hits. The target area in epee covers the entire body.
South Koreans had a quick start and built a 7-4 lead after three bouts. But Li, despite spraining her right ankle in the opening bout, tied the score 9-9 after the fourth bout. Xu gave China its first lead early in the fifth bout, and the Chinese never lost their advantage the rest of the way.
China blew things open as Sun and Xu combined for 11 points in the ensuing two bouts. By the time Sun and Shin readied for the ninth bout, China was up 27-19.
South Koreans knocked out the world No. 1 Romania in the quarters and dispatched the U.S. in the semis en route to the final.
The silver represents a sweet redemption for Shin, who was offered a special award for sportsmanship after famously losing her individual semifinal bout under disputed circumstances earlier this week.
Britta Heidemann of Germany beat Shin Monday in extra time, but South Korea officials argued Heidemann's winning hit came after the final second was up. International fencing officials acknowledged a possible timekeeping problem but rejected South Korea's appeal
because "a question of fact" couldn't be changed. Shin later lost in her bronze medal match.
The Korean Olympic Committee (KOC) also sought a joint medal but was turned away by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). (Yonhap News)