Fencer Shemyakina Wins First Olympic Gold for Ukraine
Kyiv, July 31, 2012. Ukrainian fencer Yana Shemyakina won Ukraine's first-ever women’s individual epee fencing gold in the Epee at the ExCeL on July 30. Shemyakina won over Germany’s 2008 champion Britta Heidemann in a final. Ukrainian fencer managed to seize the victory during the minute’s extra time when they tied 8:8.
Shemyakina overpowered Heidemann even though it was the latter who made the decisive hit in the last 30 seconds of the fight. Yana Shemyakina’s golden medal became the first for Ukraine’s national team. It was also the first gold in the 26 year old athlete’s personal career.
The athlete shared their impressions of the victory: “Today is the happiest day of my life. I realized that dreams do come true when you believe and work hard”. She also commented that the hardest fight was the first one. “However, I remembered what the coaches told me and so all went well. I have so much kinship with this award, I’m, probably, not going to take it off and will just go to bed with it,” said Shemyakina.
The President of the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine Sergey Bubka congratulated the athlete with the gold award: “July 30 will go down in the history of the Ukrainian Olympic. It is great that the tradition that started in Beijing by our fencers was supported by Yana Shemyakina. I believe that this well-deserved success will become another milestone on the way to new victories.”
Ukrainian athlete won gold despite an hour-long delay following an appeal by the South Korean team after Heidemann's 6:5 victory over Shin A Lam in the semifinals. South Korean officials claimed the match was already over by the time Heidemann scored her last and winning point in the last second. After an hour debate and watching replays the jury finally upheld their decision and granted the victory to Germany’s Heidemann.
World number one Sun Yujie, China, claimed the bronze after defeating Republic of Korea's Shin A Lam, who was left without a medal.
Earlier, Ukrainian weightlifter Yulia Kalina and pistol shooter Olena Kostevych won bronze medals for the national team at the XXX Olympic Games in London.