First German medal: a contested fencing silver

Germany collected its first Olympic medal on Monday when Britta Heidemann won silver in fencing – but not until after a last-second result in the semi-final which her opponent’s coach furiously contested.

First German medal: a contested fencing silver
Photo: DPA

Heidemann and the South Korean fencer Shin A Lam ended their semi final undecided, meaning a sudden death extra minute was called for – with the first to land a hit to be the winner. Shin had priority, meaning that if no hit was made, she would win, Die Welt newspaper reported.

The nerve-wracking minute drew to a close with no conclusive hit, until Heidemann hit with 0:01 left on the clock – less than a second. Yet the clock had been reset to provide the extra second after what the BBC said was an infringement by Shin.

As Heidemann celebrated and Shin sat down in tears, the South Korean coach contested the result, causing more than an hour’s delay, during which time Shin remained on the piste – if she left it would be considered acceptance of the result.

After the South Korean protests and appeals were considered and rejected Shin had to fight for the bronze, but lost – and Heidemann faced Ukrainian fencer Yana Schemyakina. She lost that, but claimed the silver medal, Germany’s first metal of the Olympics.

“Of course I would have liked to have had the last hit,” she said afterwards. “But I am satisfied nonetheless. I am happy for Jana, she is a nice girl.” And she expressed sympathy for Shin, saying, “I am sorry for her.”

Tuesday sees a good chance for gold in the eventing where Ingrid Klimke shares the lead with Swedish rider Sara Algotsson-Ostholt. Germany’s world champion Michael Jung was lying in fourth on Tuesday.

Table tennis star Timo Boll was unexpectedly knocked out of competition on Monday after losing against Romanian Adrian Crisan. “I simply want to cry. I am very disappointed and will need a few days to get over this,” he said.

The Local/DPA/hc

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Germany’s Interior Minister rules out ‘unthinkable’ bid to host 2036 Olympics

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has ruled out a bid to host the 2036 Olympics, saying in an interview that it would be "unthinkable" on the 100th anniversary of the Nazi-era 1936 Games in Berlin.

Germany's Interior Minister rules out 'unthinkable' bid to host 2036 Olympics
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer. Photo: DPA

Held three years before the outbreak of the Second World War, the 1936 games are widely remembered as a propaganda coup for Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime.

In March this year, Berlin's state minister of the interior Andreas Geisel faced heavy criticism after he appeared to suggest Berlin should bid for the 2036 Olympics in an interview with Tagesspiegel newspaper.

However, the 69-year-old Seehofer, whose ministry also holds the sports portfolio, said Germany could not be seen to celebrate the centenary of the Nazi-era Berlin Olympics.

“It would be unthinkable. If we did that, we would bring on an unspeakable international discussion and harm the Olympic idea,” he told Frankfurt-based newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) in an interview published on Monday.

“How would people see it across the world? Germany celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the Nazi Olympics? That cannot happen.”

Aside from concerns over associations with the Nazi regime, there is scant public support for hosting the Olympics in Germany.

READ ALSO: Interior Ministry begs for more cash after 'forgetting' landmark reunification celebration

Public referendums, in 2015 and 2013, rejected proposed Olympic bids to host the summer games in Hamburg and a winter edition in Munich respectively.

Seehofer said that he was generally in favour of a German Olympic bid, but voiced concern that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had become too focused on commercial success.

“In the eyes of the public, the IOC has wandered too far from its original idea and into commercialism,” he told the FAZ.

He called on the IOC to “de-commercialise” and said he had “a lot of sympathy” for the German Athletes' Commission, which last year demanded that the IOC share a quarter of its profits with Olympic participants.

By Kit Holden