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(Yonhap Editorial) South Korea should learn a lesson from London Olympics fiasco
SEOUL, Aug. 1 (Yonhap) -- Refereeing errors have marred the London Olympic Games which opened last week. Most of the crucial errors have been concentrated on South Korean athletes. Female fencer Shin A-lam lost her bid for an epee gold medal Monday following a loss in controversial semifinals round which was due to human error or malfunctioning timing equipment.

   Britta Heidemann of Germany edged Shin 6-5 in extra time with a winning hit with one second remaining. But timing equipment had not been activated toward the end of the semi-final, allowing Heidemann extra time to register points. South Koreans complained that the clock had stopped running with one second left as Shin fended off Heidemann's attack three times, and that the German's decisive hit came after the final second was up.
Judges deliberated for almost half an hour before giving Heidemann the win. Shin, 25, staged a sit-down protest long after the match ended and later lost in the bronze medal bout.

   The global governing body of fencing on Tuesday rejected South Korea's appeal following the disputed conclusion to the women's epee contest the previous day at the London Olympics.

   South Korea's swimming star Park Tae-hwan was initially disqualified in his preliminary heat of the men's 400-meter freestyle but went on to win a silver medal after the false start disqualification ruling was overturned four hours after it was issued on Saturday.

   It is doubtful that the judges, referees and international sports federations have prepared for the Olympics sincerely.

   The London Olympics have also suffered from a number of other mistakes. The Olympic torch was extinguished several times during the torch relay. Also the flame cannot be seen outside the stadium. The organizers also invited protest from North Korean athletes on July 26 when it showed South Korea's national flag beside the list of names of North Korean athletes on the electronic score board. On July 30 South Korea and China jointly won a bronze in the men's 200 meter freestyle but the organizers hoisted China's national flag below the South Korean national flag, causing indignation among Chinese athletes.

   The frequent misjudging and loose management of the games has so far marred the London Olympics, the third time the city has hosted the games.

   South Korea has so far been the biggest victim of misjudgment at the London Olympics. The country needs to strengthen its sports diplomacy. The country also should take a lesson from the London Olympics in order not to repeat the shameful errors in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. From the start to the close of the games, the organizing committee should establish perfect plans to prevent the smallest error or mismanagement of the games.

  (END)
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