Son Heung-min is set to carry out his compulsory military service in South Korea later this month.
The Tottenham star, who recently returned to his homeland to continue his recovery from a fractured arm he suffered in February, will be in self-quarantine for the next fortnight to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
But from April 20, Son will undertake an intense four-week military training programme, which must be completed before his birthday in July, at a Marine Corps unit on the island of Jeju.
Normally, all able-bodied South Korean men must provide 21 months’ worth of service before the age of 28, but the forward earned an exemption from the full term after helping his country win the 2018 Asian Games.
However, Son is still expected to serve for four weeks, and with the Premier League suspended for the foreseeable future due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been agreed that the time has come.
While the Military Manpower Administration (MMA) declined to confirm the date and exact location of his training, details of the gruelling exercises in which Son will participate have been revealed.
Per Reuters, an official at the Marine Corps said he would receive a shortened version of a boot camp required for all new regular enlistees, including discipline education, combat drills and a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) exercise.
“Once you’re in the military, you should be able to fire a rifle, breath in the gas and participate in a battle, rolling and crawling around the field,” he told Reuters.
If that sounds full on, the report references a video of military training posted by the MMA on YouTube that will surely confirm your suspicions.
It is claimed to show a group of soldiers undergoing CBRN training in a gas chamber, and after spending a few minutes inside, they emerge with tears streaming down their faces and pouring water over their heads.
That’s said to be the toughest part of the arduous boot camp, which is wrapped up by a group march of up to 30 kilometres (18.6 miles).
“During the march, our regular Marine Corps recruits would bring 40 kilograms of equipment but it could be much lighter for alternative trainees depending on the programme.”
Son has probably been pushed to the limit during pre-season training camps throughout his professional football career, but none of them could’ve prepared for him serving in the South Korean military.
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