In a surprising twist at the Asian Games, South Korean judo athlete Lee Hye-kyeong found herself facing disqualification from a semi-final match due to a controversial incident that gained international attention among sports enthusiasts.
The 27-year-old Lee had a successful journey in the women’s 48kg tournament, defeating Qurbonzoda Madina of Tajikistan in the round of 16 and Mongolia’s Bavuudorj Baasankhuu in the quarterfinals.
However, her semi-final encounter with Kazakhstan’s Abiba Abuzhakynova took a questionable turn. With the score still at 0-0 and only two minutes into the match, Lee delivered a slap to Abuzhakynova’s face. The Kazakhstani judoka initially turned away in pain and then fell to the ground, holding her face while visibly distressed.
Although the slap look unintentional, a concerned Lee quickly approached her opponent, placing a hand on her back, but the damage had already been done. The referee promptly instructed Lee to step away, leaving coaches and spectators perplexed.