Japan's Masashi Ebinuma fights with South Korea's Cho Jun-Ho (blue) during their men's -66kg quarter-final judo match at the London 2012 Olympic Games July 29, 2012. (Photo : REUTERS/Darren Staples)
A cacophony of boos from the crowd helped force a reviewing jury to take the unprecedented step of overturning the decision of a referee and his two judges in the Olympic judo on Sunday.
After a close encounter in the quarter-final of the men's -66kg category between Japan's Ebinuma Masashi and South Korea's Cho Jun-Ho, the referee and judges on the mat raised their blue flags to indicate Cho had won.
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The arena at London's ExCel Centre erupted in derision with the disgusted Japanese coach looking utterly flabbergasted. The result was referred to a reviewing commission and they ruled that Masashi should be the winner.
Nicolas Messner, spokesman for governing body the International Judo Federation (IJF), said it was the first time the referee and judges had been overruled on a flag decision.
"We want to make sure that the right fighter has won," he said. "The fight was very close."
Before the tournament began, the IJF said it was keen to avoid the furor over decisions in the past such as the 2000 Olympic heavyweight final in Sydney.
That clash saw French judoka David Douillet take gold from Japan's Shinichi Shinohara amid angry protests from the Japanese camp.