South Koreans seek probe into fencer's defeat

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LONDON — The South Korean Olympic team said Friday it is asking for an investigation into the defeat of a fencer who wept before the crowd while she waited for an appeal to be decided.

South Korean fencer Shin A-lam broke into tears while she waited for an appeal to be decided after a match on Monday.  ANDREW MEDICHINI/ASSOCIATED PRESS
ANDREW MEDICHINI/ASSOCIATED PRESS
South Korean fencer Shin A-lam broke into tears while she waited for an appeal to be decided after a match on Monday.

The South Korean committee said it wants an investigation by the International Olympic Committee. It also wants the governing body of fencing to apologize and “restore the honor” of fencer Shin A-lam.

The apology is necessary “to restore the pride of the Korean people and also try to reinstate the honor of the athlete Shin,” South Korean Olympic official Choi Jong-jun said in comments published by the Olympic News Service.

Shin sat tearfully on the fencing strip Monday awaiting a decision after a chaotic end to her semifinal against Germany’s Britta Heidemann. A final second was put back on the clock, allowing the German fencer to make a winning attack.

Choi said the governing body acknowledged “mechanical errors” with timing equipment. Shin later lost the bronze medal match.

ATHLETES EXPELLED: A three-time world champion hammer thrower from Belarus was kicked out of the Olympics because an IOC retest found his doping samples from the 2004 Athens Games to be positive.

Ivan Tsikhan, who won the silver medal in Athens, had been expected to start qualifying for the hammer throw final but was instead sent home by the IAAF, the Belarus Olympic committee said Friday.

Russian track cyclist Victoria Baranova was also expelled after failing a pre-Olympics doping test.

A spokesman for the governing body of the sport told The Associated Press that Baranova tested positive for testosterone July 24 in Belarus.

An Australian rower was also sent home after damaging two storefront windows outside London.

The Australian Olympic Committee said Josh Booth, a member of the men’s eight that finished last in Wednesday’s final, had apologized to two shop owners and would pay $2,175 to repair windows broken in the incident.

He will not be charged by police.

TRANSPORTATION TROUBLES: A main subway line to London’s Olympic Park was briefly suspended Friday morning on the busiest day of the games so far. But officials said the transit system was coping despite some upheavals.

Some 200,000 people were expected at Olympic Park on the first day of track and field competition.

Transport for London said service on the Central Line, which links central London with the Olympic Park, had been briefly suspended because of a power failure that affected its signals. Officials said full service was resumed by 9 a.m. after a partial suspension that lasted more than an hour.

Olympic fans quickly switched to other lines, causing further overcrowding. At St. Pancras station, where fast Javelin trains run to the Olympic site, lines stretched across the concourse, out the door and down the street Friday morning.

“From what I understand the queues were about an hour for the Javelin - but everybody’s got in,” organizing committee spokeswoman Jackie Brock-Doyle said.

Officials have warned Londoners for weeks that the games would bring pressure and crowding on public transport, but so far the system has largely coped. Transport for London says passenger numbers are up 10 percent on usual levels for this time of year.

Huge crowds thronged the park Friday, the first day of events inside the 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium, which had so far only been used for the gala opening ceremony.

Officials are also restricting access to the Westfield Stratford shopping mall next to the Olympic Park on Friday and Saturday because of the large crowds. Only ticket holders or accredited workers will be allowed into the mall - Europe’s largest - during the day.

Games officials say they expect the mall to open as normal after Saturday, expected to be the peak day for Olympic visitor numbers.


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