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London 2012 fencing: First gold medal won by Ukraine

London 2012 fencing: Ukrainian Yana Shemyankina defeated German Britta Heidemann to win the gold medal in women's individual epee. It was the Ukraine's first gold medal in this Olympics.

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London 2012 fencing: Ukraine's Yana Shemyakina celebrates defeating Germany's Britta Heidemann during their women's epee individual gold medal fencing match at the ExCel venue at the London Games July 30.

Damir Sagolj/Reuters

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In an unlikely victory Ukranianian fencer Yana Shemyakina won the gold medal in women's individual epee. She defeated reigning Olympic Champion German Britta Heidemann at London's ExCel arena 9-8.

Shemyakina is relatively unknown, with only one other fencing title to her name, a bronze medal during the 2009 European Fencing Championships. She was born in Lviv, a cultural center in Western Ukraine, in 1986. According to the London 2012 Olympic website, she enjoys reading historical novels and psychological literature.

Shemyakina had a remarkable run at the Olympics, winning against Romania and Russia, and then China's Yujie Sun, the No. 1 ranked fencer in the world, to advance to the gold medal round.

The match between Shemyakina and Heidemann resulted in the first medal for Germany in London thus far, and the first gold for the Ukraine.

Heidemann advanced to the gold medal round after a controversial semi-final round against South Korean A Lam Shin, who dissolved into tears afterward. Heidemann defeated Shin in overtime 6-5, but the South Koreans submitted a formal appeal to the judges, arguing the last point. Shin refused to leave the arena, crying on the mat for 15 minutes until the appeal was denied.

The drama delayed the gold medal and bronze medal matches. China's Sun later defeated Shin for the bronze.


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