Thailand Taekwondo President wants coach Choi to remain in his position
Taekwondo Association of Thailand (TAT) bosses will try to bring coach Choi Young-seok back to Thailand following claims he attacked a female athlete. They said the Korean-born coach, who has worked with the Thai national team for over a decade, did nothing wrong.
National team member Rungravee Khurasa claimed she was punched several times by Choi during last week’s Korean Open after she lost her first match.
Reports said the coach was furious because Rungravee did not warm up before the bout.
The Thai team arrived in Bangkok from South Korea last night but Choi remains in his home country. Rungravee returned earlier using her own funds.
TAT president Pimol Srivikorn, who is in the US, yesterday said he would go to South Korea to persuade Choi to return and coach the Thai team.
“My officials told me that he would not come back,’’ Mr Pimol said.
“I will do my best to bring him back. I will fly to South Korea to talk to him.’’
Mr Pimol said Rungravee had lacked discipline and deserved punishment.
“Thai coaches at the Korean Open told me that Choi had not done anything wrong and that the athlete lacked discipline and lied to the media,’’ he said.
“She will never be supported by Thai fans.’’
The TAT has set up a committee, chaired by Surawut Maharom, to probe the matter.
TAT vice-president Preecha Tortrakul yesterday had a one-hour talk with Choi on the phone.
“He said he did not know if he would see us again,’’ said Mr Preecha, who brought Choi to Thailand in 2002.
Mr Preecha said he urged Choi to return to Thailand to train Thai athletes for the Youth Olympics next month and the Asian Games in September.
“I will fly to South Korea tomorrow to try to bring him back,’’ Mr Preecha said.
Choi’s fans here have set up a fan page www.facebook.com/coachchoifc in support of the coach.
Under Choi, Thailand won three Olympic medals as well as other honours in major competitions. He does not have a formal contract with the TAT.
Sakol Wannapong, deputy governor of the Sports Authority of Thailand, said the TAT was slow to respond to the incident.
“It has been almost one week but they have not taken any action yet,’’ Mr Sakol said.
But Mr Sakol agreed the parties concerned should bring Choi back.
Source: Bangkok Post (Kittipong Thongsombat)