Rungravee ready to rejoin team

Athlete Rungravee Khurasa Tuesday said she wanted to return to the national taekwondo team and reconcile with her South Korean coach after a high-profile conflict over allegedly excessive physical punishment.

Rungravee told the ASTV Manager newspaper her mind was now clearer and she understood why she had been harshly and widely criticised by supporters of coach Choi Young Seok. She said she was ready to meet with him to "adjust understanding" between them as soon as the Taekwondo Association of Thailand (TAT) can arrange a meeting.

The 23-year-old fighter previously said she might resign from the national taekwondo team after, she claimed, she was punched by the popular coach after her loss in her first match at the Korean Open earlier this month. The 40-year-old coach insisted he did not punch Rungrawee, but only punished her with light, open-hand contact because she arrived late at the competition venue.

Choi on Monday apologised over the punishment and said he wanted the matter to end quickly so he could focus on completing his mission of helping his "second home" win an Olympic gold medal.  He said Rungravee was welcome to return to the team as she still qualifies to represent Thailand at the Asian Games in September.

I still feel greatly attached to this sport as I've been doing it since I was in tenth grade," Rungrawee said. "I want to return to the national team as it's not an opportunity just anyone gets."

She said she is willing to accept future punishment, if necessary, as long as it's not as "violent" as the most-recent episode.

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