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Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014

Asia

Thai wants peace with coach she accused of attacking her

Reuters | Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014

Thai Taekwondo coach Choi Young-seuk

Thai Taekwondo fighter Rungrawee Khurasa wants to hold peace talks with the coach she accused of assaulting her so she can return to the national fold in time for the Asian Games.

Rungrawee had said she would quit the national team after accusing Choi Young-seok of hitting her in the stomach several times and also in the face following a first round defeat at the Korea Open in Gyeongju earlier this month.

The 23-year-old, who won a bronze at the 62kg class in the Asian Championship last year, made the allegations on television before going silent on the issue.

South Korean Choi, credited with helping Thailand win three Olympic medals in the sport during his decade in the country, had also threatened to quit amid the allegations.

The Thailand Taekwondo Association opened an investigation into proceedings, but Rungrawee failed to show up for the inquiry over the weekend, sparking online criticism.

The athlete, who had also contemplated filing a police report at one point, said she just wanted to speak with Choi and try and move on by attempting to qualify for the Asian Games which takes place in South Korea.

"Of course, I want to return to the national team and I'm ready to clear everything for better understanding with coach Choi," Rungrawee told the Nation newspaper on Wednesday.

"I don't want to say much at this stage. I would like to talk with the coach first. If everything pans out well, I'm ready for the trial for the Asian Games in September."

Thailand Taekwondo Association vice president Pricha Tortrakul welcomed the athlete's comments and was optimistic of a "happy ending" for all parties after Choi had shown remorse for the incident.

The 40-year-old Korean said on Monday that he had already apologised to Rungrawee, also known by her nickname 'Koi', and that the door was open for her to return.

"I would like to apologise to the Thai people for the incident. I didn't think it would come this far. I really regret the things that had happened over the last week," he told reporters at a packed news conference.

"I did punish her but it was not as serious as punching her 10 times as made out to be. The punishment had nothing to do with winning or losing. I just wanted her to be more determined and put more focus on fights."

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