South Korean fencer Shin Lam got denied an advance to the Olympic final of the women's epee after she misinterpreted a clock re-setting.

According to multiple reports, the clock was reset from zero to one second before German Britta Heidemann, gold medallist four years ago, scored a match-winning hit that solidified her a spot in the final against Ukraine's Yana Shemyakana.

Korean coach Shim Jaesung launched an appeal against the decision that resumed the fight and apparently confused Lam. The appeal lasted nearly one half hour, but in the end the judge's decision stood.

Shin broke down in tears for the second time on the platform while her opponent celebrated.

Spectators were reportedly informed that Lam remained on the epee stage because a formal appeal was being considered and if she left the field of play it would be deemed an acceptance of defeat.

Shin was eventually escorted from the floor by security after the appeal was denied, only to return minutes later and lose in the bronze medal match.

Whistles and boos from the crowd accompanied Lam as she was led off, although the decision had still not been announced.

As she was hugged by her coach the announcer asked for respect to be shown to the athletes and judges. A big round of applause for the world No 12 as she finally left, the Daily Mail reports