Rungravee meets coach, apologises

National taekwondo team member Rungravee Khurasa on Wednesday apologised to her South Korean coach Choi Young Seok, ending their two-week long conflict over alleged excessive physical punishment.

Rungravee, accompanied by her parents, went to the Taekwondo Association of Thailand (TAT) headquarters where she made a personal apology to Choi and gave him a flower garland, a gesture to show gratitude and respect. Choi accepted it.

“I apologise to everyone, both the taekwondo association and all trainers, especially coach Choi,” she said.

Rungravee had earlier announced her withdrawal from the national team after she accused Choi of slapping her and punching her for alleged lack of discipline and bad preparation at a match in the Korean Open early this month. She claimed the punishment was excessive.  

Choi denied he punched her. On Monday, he apologised for the punishment used against her but said Rungravee only joined the taekwondo national team recently and was still inexperienced and probably did not understand the team’s very strict disciplinary system. He welcomed her back into the team, saying Rungravee was a talented athlete.

The 23-year-old athlete admitted to being too young and hot-tempered when she criticised Choi publicly and had no idea it would become a big and damaging issue. “I did not have the intention to cause damage,” she said, adding that no one else was behind her decision to go public about the matter. 

The tearful Rungravee said she loved the sport and if the association and coach give her another opportunity to rejoin the national team she would give it her all. 

Reports said TAT president Pimol Srivikorn will review and consider Rungravee’s reentry early next month. 

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