Last-Minute Upset for Korean Judoka Cho Jun-ho

Korea suffered a stressful day at the 2012 London Olympics on Sunday. Following the doubtful disqualification of swimmer Park Tae-hwan which ended in his reinstatement on Saturday, Korean judoka Cho Jun-ho's win in the quarterfinals in the men's -66 kg category was also controversially overturned.

The decision came by intervention of the referees' supervisor when the referee and his two judges on the mat had awarded a unanimous victory to Cho over Japan's Masashi Ebinuma.

The referee and judges discuss the result of the mens -66kg judo match between Cho Jun-Ho and Japans Masashi Ebinuma in the London 2012 Olympic Games on Sunday at the ExCeL Centre in London. The referee and judges discuss the result of the men's -66kg judo match between Cho Jun-Ho and Japan's Masashi Ebinuma in the London 2012 Olympic Games on Sunday at the ExCeL Centre in London.

Cho and Ebinuma drew even after the five-minute contest plus an extra three minutes of golden score, and then all three referees on the mat raised blue flags, indicating the victory of the judoka in the blue uniform, which was Cho.

But Japanese fans, which formed a majority of the crowd at the ExCeL Centre, jeered the decision, Ebinuma refused to leave the mat, and the Japanese coach did not stop complaining about the result.

The referees' chief director Juan Carlos Barcos of Spain called in the referees. One member of the committee representing each continent disagreed with the decision, which led to analysis of the video replay of the match. They then decided to overturn the decision in favor of Ebinuma.

The referee and judges hold up white flags to indicate Japans Masashi Ebinuma (white) as the winner in the mens -66kg quarter-final judo match against Cho Jun-ho (blue) at the London 2012 Olympic Games on Sunday. /Reuters-Yonhap The referee and judges hold up white flags to indicate Japan's Masashi Ebinuma (white) as the winner in the men's -66kg quarter-final judo match against Cho Jun-ho (blue) at the London 2012 Olympic Games on Sunday. /Reuters-Yonhap

The referee and two judges returned to the mat and raised white flags for Ebinuma instead. Now it was the Korean team's turn to complain, but to no avail.

A despondent Cho shook his head and told reporters in the mixed zone that he could not understand the decision. He won a bronze medal in repechage.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jul. 30, 2012 13:48 KST