Happy ending

Happy ending

Coach Choi's accuser, Rungrawee Kurasa, today apologised to everyone in the Thai tawkwando family and Coach Choi himself accepted her very personal apology to him.

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Friends again: Coach Choi Young-seok and Rungrawee Khurasa. WEERAWONG WONGPREEDEE

Wednesday update

Happy ending

All is well again in Thailand's taekwando camp. Today, Rungrawee Khurasa, accompanied by her parents, came to the taekwando association headquarters where she apologised to everyone and made a very personal apology to Coach Choi Young-seok himself.

Rungrawee, or Nong Koi, of course, had earlier accused the coach of slapping her and punching her in the stomach after her loss in the Korean Open last week, a punishment she claimed was excessive.

Taekwondo athletes, association officials and sports fan rushed to the Korean-born coach's defence, causing him to reconsider his initial decision to quit his position.

Today Nong Koi admitted to being hot-tempered and she had no idea she would cause such a big and damaging incident. She said no one else was behind her ill-advised decision to criticise the coach publicly.

A tearful Nong Koi said she loved the sport and if the association gives her another opportunity she will give it her all.

Earlier stories

Here is the story from start to finish, a good exercise for English learners since you see the basic vocabulary repeated again and again as the story develops.

Choi Young-seok at a press conference to declare his intention to stay with Thai team. WISIT THAMNGERN

Monday evening update

Embattled taekwondo coach apologises, but won't change methods

Online reporters

Thailand’s embattled coach of the national taekwondo team apologised over the punishment used against a badly prepared female fighter, but said he would not change his methods.

South Korean-born Choi Young-seok told a packed room of reporters Monday that what he did what about instilling discipline in the entire team. He said he would not resign and wanted to make the Thai team his last.

Team member Rungrawee Khurasa, 23, accused coach Choi of using excessive force by punching her several times after she lost a match at last week's Korean Open. The coach said the accusation, which went viral on social media, caught him by surprise and he wanted to apologise to the Thai people for the controversy in hopes of putting the matter to rest quickly.

Coach Choi, however, said he would not change his punishment methods. Team discipline needs to be improved and fighters need to understand his system better, he told reporters.

Explaining his discipline philosophy, coach Choi said that results of any individual match are not as important as the skills that can be developed. But fighters on the national team need to learn to take responsibility.

In the case of Ms. Rungrawee – who not only lost the match due to bad preparation, but also forgot an identification card and kept an opponent waiting – coach Choi said the punishment was dealt because, although the open was a small event, if it were repeated at the Asian Games, it could bring disgrace to the country by being disqualified.

No one is disputing that coach Choi struck the young woman. The question has been over whether the force used was excessive. The coach earlier described the punishment not as the "punch" the fighter described, but light, open-hand contact.

Monday morning update

Note: The audio file for Monday morning's story is at the end of the full text.

Coach Choi is greeted on his arrival by 2004 Olympics Yaowapha Buraphonchai Olympic bronze medallist (centre) and Dr Tossaporn Serirak (left) among others. Monday morning photos by Nattapol Lovakij

You can now hear what Coach Choi said in Thai in the video by Thit Wannamontha:

Coach Choi arrives "home"

Thailand's national taekwondo coach Choi Young Seok returned to Bangkok last night to a rousing welcome at Suvarnabhumi airport from fanclub members, athletes and taekwondo officials.

Coach Choi's local fans worked hard to make his return to Thailand a special one.

He told the large media contingent covering his arrival that he didn't fault taekwondo athlete Rungravee Khurasa (or "Nong Koi")  whose allegations of excessive punishment after her loss at the Korea Open caused him to briefly consider resigning his position.

He said she simply lacked experience in what was required of a national team member and the demands of international competition.

"She has only been a national team member for three to four months and doesn't really understand team regulations," Coach Choi said.

He said he would like to quickly come to an understanding with Nong Koi so the matter can be laid to rest and he can get back to his duties as coach.

He's there, somewhere in that media crowd. Look just to the left of centre.

At the airport, Preecha Tortrakul, head of the Taekwondo Association of Thailand, said his organisation was willing to give Nong Koi the opportunity to continue in the sport. She had earlier announced she was quitting the national team.

Mr Preecha also announced that Coach Choi would continue training the national team through the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.

Adapted from a Post Today story.

Patiwat Thongsalap is pictured with his coach during his match against Iran's Alireza Nasr Azadani in the final of the men's lightweight category at the World Cup Taekwondo Team Championships where Patiwat won the gold medal. PAWAT LAOPAISARNTAKSIN

Sunday evening update.

A group of Thai sports fans were at the airport in South Korea today to send off coach Choi. One of them snapped this photo.

21:20  Coach Choi is in the air on his way back to Thailand. He is expected back at about 22:20.

Sunday morning update

Taekwondo national coach Choi Young Seok now scheduled to arrive at Suvarnabhumi airport at 10.20pm tonight.

Preecha Tortrakul, vice-president of the Taekwondo Association of Thailand (TAT), said he was happy that Choi would return to Thailand.

He said Choi would give only one interview with the media after his return and would then focus on training his athletes for upcoming events.

"We want to put an end to the matter as soon as possible and do not want him to be distracted,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, Thai Taekwondo ahtlete Rungravee Khurasa, who claims she was punched by national coach Choi Young Seok, yesterday failed to appear before the investigation committee to give her side of the story.

The 23-year-old fighter has publicly complained that Choi punched her several times after her loss in her opening bout at the Korean Open earlier this month.

Her failure to show up at yesterday’s meeting upset panel chairman Surawut Maharom who said the athlete showed no respect to the committee.

"We did not want to question her. We wanted to talk to her and get details of the incident from her,’’ an infuriated Surawut said.

"We wanted to help her and give her a chance to speak. It was unfortunate that she did not come. We consider this an insult.’’

Saturday update

Rungravee Khurasa, left, in action in a bout earlier this year.

Chatchawal says Rungravee to blame

Kittipong Thongsombat

Taekwondo fighter Rungravee Khurasa was badly prepared for her fight in last week’s Korean Open, prompting coach Choi Young-Seok to punish her, a Thai coach at the tournament said yesterday.

Rungravee has claimed South Korea’s Choi punched her several times after she was well-beaten in her opening bout.

The athlete also said she did nothing wrong but Choi, who is in South Korea, and other members of the coaching staff had a different story.

“She was not well-prepared for the fight and should blame herself for being punished,” said Chatchawal Khala-or, one of Thailand’s coaches who was at the venue.

“She has competed at several major international events so she should have done better ahead of her bout at the Korean Open.”

It is not unusual for Choi to punish players during training or competition, said Chatchawal, a former national athlete under Choi.

Rungravee is scheduled to meet the investigation committee, led by Surawut Maharom, today.

Nat Indrapana, former president of the Taekwondo Association of Thailand, said he believed the coach did not use violent means.

He said it was not easy for Thailand to get such a high-quality coach.

“I believe he will return to Thailand. He has said he loves Thailand, and Thais also love him,” Nat said. “But the investigation must be conducted in a straightforward manner.”

Earlier stories

Rungrawee Kurasa: Her allegation that she was excessively punished by South Korean-born taekwondo coach, Choi Young-seok, has reportedly caused the popular coach to seriously consider resigning his position.

Friday, 20:00

Thai PBS reports that Thailand's embattled taekwondo coach, encouraged by an outpouring of support for taekwondo team members and sports fans, has told Reuters he will return to Thailand on Sunday to continue his duties. Taekwondo authorities are still hoping that his accuser, Rungrawee Kurasa, will give her side of the story tomorrow and that the two can resolve their differences amicably.

"Yesterday I spoke to the chairman [president] of the Taekwondo Association of Thailand [Pimol Srivikorn] and made my decision this morning to return to Thailand," Choi told Reuters. Choi said it was "a small disciplinary punishment".

Thursday's stories

19:50 Coach Choi did not return Thailand today and now a group of top Thai tawkwondo athletes, led by 2013 taekwondo world champion Chanatip Sonkham, are making plans to go to South Korea to try to persuade him to return. A Korean news agency also quoted the embattled coach as saying that he did not use excessive force against Rungrawee Kurasa and that has been backed up by another coach who was present when the incident happened. There is speculation that politics between rival groups within the Thai badmintion association might have played a part in the accusation against the coach.

11:00 Post Today confirms that Coach Choi will not be returning to Thailand today and that his family has left Thailand and returned to South Korea. The information comes from Taekwondo Association president Pimol Srivikorn who also said he will do his best to try to keep Coach Choi as the head of the national team.

10:00 Thai PBS has just reported that Coach Choi will not be returning to Thailand with the taekwondo team today, adding to suspicions that he will soon resign his position. Meanwhile, support for the coach continues to pour in from former and current athletes and from sports fans. A facebook page giving moral support to the coach jumped from 3000 "likes" to over 20,000 in only a day.

Note: There are various ways of pronouncing "taekwondo" and I use the Oxford dictionary version  (American pronunciation) which sounds like "tai kwan DOE"

Taekwondo coach under fire, may quit

Thailand's national taekwondo team has had much success under its South Korean-born head coach, Choi Young-seok, winning Olympic, Asian Games and World Championship medals over the past decade.

Now we are finding out one of the reasons why. Choi is a tough disciplinarian and carelessness or failure to train properly are severely punished.

It is bit too much for national team member Rungrawee Kurasa who claims Coach Choi assaulted her after she lost a match at the Korea Open last Friday.

Rather than keep quiet like other team members,  Rungrawee, 23, the bronze medalist from this year’s Asian championships in Uzbekistan, described the incident in a post on her Facebook page, saying her coach punched her once in the face and stomach.

She claimed the punishment was excessive and yesterday visited a hospital for a medical checkup.

According to a Thai Rath report, she said her parents would not tolerate such a practice, and she would “not get hurt for free”.

According to the same Thai Rath report, however, the head coach punished Rungrawee because she was not only late for her match but also forgot her equipment, forcing her competitor to wait.

Coach Choi, a fluent Thai speaker, is very well known to Thai sports fans, many of whom have voiced their support for him in the social media, countering calls for his resignation by other netizens.

Olympic taekwondo bronze medallist Chanatip Sonkham (centre) flanked by coach Choi Young Seok (left) and Pimon Srivikorn (right) waves to people in Bangkok’s Phaya Thai district during an August 2012 parade . THITI WANNAMONTHA

The 2013 taekwondo world champion, Chanatip Sonkham, also wrote a message in support of the coach.

She said she has Mr Choi to thank for her Olympic bronze medal and other international accolades.

“Taekwondo is a combative sport so injuries are normal. There is punishment during training for mistakes, that is true. I have been through all types of penalty. I used to cry and questioned why I was treated this way. But I have endured everything and I have eventually made it,” Chanatip wrote.

Yaowapha Buraphonchai

She said no one wants to be hurt, but the coach’s intention of wanting to see the athlete succeed must be considered too.

The Taekwondo Association of Thailand is investigating the allegation, and has invited Rungrawee and Choi to testify on Saturday.

That may not happen. Coach Choi is reported to be very upset over Rungrawee's accusation and South Korean fans and sports writers are urging him to quit as Thai coach and come home to help develop athletes there.

2004 Olympic bronze medallist Yaowapha Buraphonchai wrote on her Facebook page yesterday, asking whether Rungrawee will accept responsibility if he does leave.

Adapted from information in the Bangkok Post's Thai Pulse, Post Today and sports radio talk shows.

Learn from listening

Click play to listen to audio for this story, or download to save the file
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  • accolade: praise or an award for an achievement that people admire - การได้รับเกียรติ, รางวัล
  • accompanied (verb): with someone else going with you - ติดตาม, ร่วมทาง, เดินทางไปด้วย
  • accusation: a statement that someone has done something wrong or illegal even though this has not been proved - ข้อกล่าวหา
  • admit: to agree that something is true, especially when you are unhappy, sorry or surprised about it - ยอมรับ
  • allegation: an accusation; a statement that someone has done something wrong or illegal even though this has not been proved - ข้อกล่าวหา
  • amicably: in a polite or friendly way and without arguing - เป็นกันเอง, อย่างมีมารยาท
  • assault: to attack someone violently - ทำร้ายร่างกาย
  • association: an official group of people who have joined together for a particular purpose - สมาคม
  • athlete: someone who is good at sports and takes part in sports competitions - นักกีฬา
  • back: to support - สนับสนุน
  • bout: a boxing, wrestling or taekwando match - การแข่งขัน
  • bronze: a dark reddish-brown metal made by mixing copper and tin - ทองสัมฤทธ์, ทองแดง
  • claim: to say that something is true although it has not been proved and other people may not believe it - อ้าง
  • combative: ready to fight, argue with, or oppose someone - พร้อมสู้กลับ
  • competitor: a person, team or company that is competing against others - ผู้แข่งขัน, คู่แข่ง
  • conduct: to do something in an organised way; to carry out — - ลงมือทำ, ดำเนิน, ปฏิบัติ
  • consider: to give careful thought to something before making a decision - พิจารณา
  • contingent: a group of people who have something in common - คณะ
  • controversy: a disagreement that a lot of people have strong feelings about - ความขัดแย้ง
  • counter: to reply to a criticism or statement that you disagree with - ตอบโต้
  • criticise: to say that you disapprove of somebody/something; to say what you do not like or think is wrong about somebody/something - วิจารณ์, ติเตียน,จับผิด
  • current: of the present time - ปัจจุบัน
  • decade: a period of ten years - ทศวรรษ
  • defence: something you say to support someone or something that is being criticised - ปกป้อง แก้ต่าง
  • demands (noun): things that somebody/something makes you do, especially things that are difficult, make you tired, worried, etc -
  • details: small facts or pieces of information relating to a situation - รายละเอียด
  • disciplinarian (noun): a person who believes in using rules and punishments for controlling people - ผู้ยึดถือระเบียบวินัยอย่างเคร่งครัด
  • disgrace: the loss of other people’s respect because of something bad that you have done; something that is extremely bad or shocking - น่าสยดสยอง, ความเสื่อมเสีย, ความอัปยศ, การขายหน้า
  • disqualify: to not allow someone to do something  because they have committed an offence - ทำให้หมดสภาพ
  • distracted: having your attention taken away from something - ไขว้เขว เสียสมาธิ
  • embattled: experiencing a lot of problems - ที่ถูกโจมตี
  • encouraged: having more confidence or hope about something - มีกำลังใจ
  • endure: to suffer something difficult or unpleasant in a patient way over a long period of time - อดทนเพื่อให้ผ่านเวลาหรือเหตุการณ์ที่เลวร้าย
  • equipment: the things that are needed for a particular purpose or activity - อุปกรณ์, เครื่องมือ
  • eventually: at the end of a period of time or at the end of a process - ในที่สุด
  • excessive: much greater than is usual; too much of something   - มากเกินปริมาณที่พอดี
  • fault: to find something bad or wrong in a person or thing; to blame - ตำหนิ
  • flank: to be at the side of someone or something - อยู่ด้านข้าง
  • fluent: able to speak, read or write a language, especially a foreign language, easily and well - คล่อง, พูดหรือเขียนได้อย่างคล่องแคล่ว
  • former: of or in an earlier time; before the present time or in the past - อดีต, แต่ก่อน
  • headquarters: the place where an organisation or company has its main offices - สำนักงานใหญ่ กองบัญชาการ
  • hot-tempered (adj): tending to become very angry easily - ใจร้อน
  • identification card (ID card): an official card or a document that can prove who you are - บัตรประชาชน
  • ill-advised (adjective): something you should not do; people would advise against it; foolish, ill-considered, ill-judged, imprudent, imprudent, unwise - ไม่รอบคอบ
  • incident: something that happens, usually something bad - เหตุการณ์
  • infuriated: extremely angry -
  • initial: early; first - เบื้องต้น
  • injury (noun): physical damage done to a person or a part of their body - อาการบาดเจ็บ
  • instill: to put a feeling, idea or principle gradually into someone's mind, so that it has a strong influence on the way they think or behave - ปลูกฝัง
  • insult (noun): a remark or an action that is said or done in order to offend or upset somebody - การดูถูก, การประชดประชัน, การสบประมาท, การเย้ยหยัน
  • intention: a plan in your mind to do something - ความตั้งใจ เจตนา แผนการ
  • interview: a meeting (often a public one) at which a person is asked questions in order to find out their opinions, experiences, etc. - การสัมภาษณ์
  • investigate: to try to find out the facts about something in order to learn the truth about it - ตรวจสอบหาความจริง
  • investigation: the process of trying to find out all the details or facts about something in order to discover who or what caused it or how it happened - การสอบสวน, การตรวจสอบหาข้อเท็จจริง
  • lack (verb): to not have something - ขาด
  • laid to rest (idiom): ended, finished, especially of a problem, conflict or disagrement - ทำให้สิ้นสุด, ทำให้จบ
  • manner: way - วิธีการ
  • matter: a situation or subject which is being dealt with or considered - เรื่อง, ภารกิจ, งาน
  • means: methods; ways - วิธี, วิธีการ
  • meanwhile: at the same time - ในเวลาเดียวกัน
  • media: radio, television, newspaper, the Internet, considered as a group - สื่อ
  • moral support: giving someone encouragement - ให้กำลังใจ
  • netizen: a person who uses the Internet a lot - พลเมืองเครือข่ายคอมพิวเตอร์
  • normal (adj.): typical, usual or ordinary; what you would expect - ปกติ, ภาวะปกติ
  • opponent: a person or team being competed against in a sports event - คู่ต่อสู้
  • opportunity (noun): a chance to do something, or a situation in which it is easy for you to do something - โอกาส
  • outpouring: a strong and sudden expression of feeling - การแสดงความรู้สึกทันที
  • packed: crowded; full of people or things - แน่น
  • persuade: to make someone agree to do something by giving them reasons why they should - โน้มน้าวใจ เกลี้ยกล่อม
  • pour in: to flow in or enter in large amounts - ไหลเข้า
  • practice: a way of doing something - การปฏิบัติ
  • preparation: things that you do to get ready for something or make something ready - การตระเตรียม
  • present: being in a particular place or situation - เข้าร่วม, อยู่
  • prompt: to cause someone to take action - กระตุ้น
  • punch: to hit someone/something hard with a fist (= closed hand) - ชก, ต่อย
  • punishment: an act or a way of punishing somebody - การลงโทษ
  • quote: to repeat the words that someone else has said or written - ยกคำพูดมา
  • reconsider: to think again about a decision in order to decide whether you should change it - พิจารณาอีกครั้ง
  • regulations: official rules that control the way things are done - ระเบียบ ข้อบังคับ
  • resign: to leave a job permanently - ลาออกจากตำแหน่ง
  • resignation: the act of leaving a job, position of power, etc., permanently - การลาออกจากตำแหน่ง
  • resolve: to solve a problem, or to find a satisfactory way of dealing with it - แก้ไขปัญหา
  • respect: a feeling of admiration that you have for someone/something because of their personal qualities, their achievements, or their status, and that you show by treating them in a polite and kind way - ความเคารพ, ความนับถือ
  • responsibility: deserving to be blamed for something that has happened - ความรับผิดชอบ
  • rival: of a person, group, team or business that competes with another - ที่เป็นคู่แข่งกัน
  • rousing (adj.): full of energy and enthusiasm - ตื่นเต้น,เร้าใจ,ปลุกใจ
  • schedule: to arrange for something to happen at a particular time - ทำตารางเวลา, ทำกำหนดการ, กำหนดรายการ
  • slap: a quick hit with the flat part of the hand - ตบ
  • social media: the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into an interactive dialogue, e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc. - เครือข่ายสังคมออนไลน์
  • speculation: ideas or discussion about what might happen or has happened or why something has happened without having complete information - การคาดการณ์
  • straightforward: clear and honest - ตรงไปตรงมา
  • suspicion: a feeling that something bad is probably true or likely to happen - ความสงสัย
  • tearful: crying, or feeling as if you want to cry - ร้องไห้,น้ำตาไหล, อยากร้องไห้
  • testify: to make a statement about something that you saw, know, or experienced, usually in a court of law or an official investigation - ให้การเป็นพยาน
  • tolerate: to accept something unpleasant without becoming impatient or angry - ทน ยอม
  • tough: demanding that particular rules be obeyed and ready to give out punishments to those who refuse - ที่ลงโทษร้ายแรง เข้มงวด
  • treat: to behave in a particular way towards somebody/something - ปฏิบัติ(ต่อ)
  • under fire: being criticised strongly - ถูกวิจารณ์, โดนว่า
  • unfortunate (adj): making you sad or disappointed, or getting you into a difficult position - เป็นที่น่าเสียดาย
  • upcoming: happening soon; available soon - ซึ่งกำลังจะเกิดขึ้น, ซึ่งกำลังจะมา
  • upset: to cause to be very worried, angry or sad about something   - ทำให้วิตกกังวล ทำให้หงุดหงิด
  • urge: to advise someone very strongly about what action or attitude they should take - ผลักดัน, กระตุ้น
  • venue: the place where an activity or event happens - สถานที่
  • violent: involving or caused by physical force that is intended to hurt or kill somebody - รุนแรง, ร้ายแรง, สาหัส
  • viral: (of a video, photo, story, etc.) spread across the internet very quickly (like a virus spreading a disease) as people share it with their friends or the news media reports on it - แพร่กระจายผ่านทางอินเทอร์เน็ตอย่างรวดเร็ว
  • voice: to express your feelings or opinions - ออกความคิด

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