Football team shocks Britain; fencers get real medal

By 박한나
  • Published : Aug 5, 2012 - 06:34
  • Updated : Aug 5, 2012 - 08:58

On an action-packed day for South Korea at the London Olympics, athletes who haven't yet won a medal outshone those who did.

South Korea stunned Britain in men's football in Cardiff, beating the host country 5-4 in a penalty shootout to advance to the semifinals for the first time.

The shocking win came hours after the country's female epee fencing team won the silver medal behind China. Shin A-lam, who famously lost her individual semifinal bout to a German fencer owing to a timekeeping error, was part of the team that gave South Korea its sixth fencing medal of these Olympics.

Korea's players celebrate their victory over Britain following a men's soccer quarterfinal match at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff9, Wales, at the 2012 London Summer Olympics, Saturday. (Yonhap News)

But the day belonged to the footballers. Ji Dong-won, who plays for the English club Sunderland, opened the scoring in the 29th minute, but Aaron Ramsey evened the score seven minutes later with a penalty. Ramsey's second penalty chance in the 40th minute, though, was kept out by goalkeeper Jung Sung-ryong.

Lee Bum-young, who replaced Jung in the second half after the starter injured his arm in a collision, was the hero in the shootout. After the first four British shooters found the back of the net, Lee made a crucial diving save on Daniel Sturridge. Ki Sung-yueng stepped up as the fifth South Korean shooter and calmly converted the clinching goal.

Over at the ExCeL Arena in London, fencer Shin finally earned a medal of her own. She teamed up with Jung Hyo-jung, Choi In-jeong and substitute Choi Eun-sook to counter China's Li Na, Sun Yujie and Xu Anqi in the final.

South Korea had a lead early on but the Chinese blew things open midway through the bout. However, there were no tears of disappointment from the Koreans.

Team South Korea celebrates with the national flag winning silver in the women's epee team as part of the fencing event of London 2012 Olympic games, on Saturday at the ExCel center in London. (London Olympic Joint Press Corps)

"I am so happy to have won a medal with the rest of the team," Shin said. "No matter what happened to me in that individual competition, we came through as a team."

Shin fell to Britta Heidemann in the individual epee semifinal earlier this week. South Korea protested that Heidemann's clinching hit in extra time came after the time was up, but the appeal was rejected. 

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) also refused to award a joint medal for Shin, though international fencing officials offered her a special medal for her sportsmanship.

Shin said she doesn't know why she should be getting that special prize because "I've done nothing special." She admitted, though, that she was distracted by the hoopla surrounding the aftermath of her defeat.

"I desperately wanted to win a medal in my own name," Shin said. "This experience has really toughened me as a person."

Shin said winning silver in the team event does not erase the painful memories of her semifinal loss.

"This medal and that incident are two different things," she said. "I still think about what I should have done differently before all of that happened."

Earlier Saturday, South Korea edged North Korea in the men's team table tennis event in the second all-Korea table tennis affair in London.

South Korea's Joo Sae-hyuk, Oh Sang-eun and Ryu Seung-min won match 3-1 over North Korea's Kim Hyok-bong, Jang Song-man and Kim Song-nam. South Korea now faces Portugal in the quarterfinals on Sunday.

Swimmer Park Tae-hwan finished in fourth place in the men's 1,500-meter freestyle, his third and last competition at these Olympics. He came in at 14 minutes and 50.61 seconds, well behind the champion Sun Yang. The Chinese shattered his own world record by more than three seconds to win the gold at 14:31.02.

Park, who won silver medals in both the 200m and 400m freestyle here, came up just short of becoming the first South Korean to win three medals at a single Summer Olympics. (Yonhap News)