Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 10 July 2020

Tottenham striker Son Heung-min faces tear gas, gun drills and 30km march during military training

South Korean is home for three-week mandatory service during pandemic break

Tottenham Hotspur's South Korean striker Son Heung-Min. AFP
Tottenham Hotspur's South Korean striker Son Heung-Min. AFP

Tottenham Hotspur striker Son Heung-min will be exposed to tear gas, undertake live-fire drills and go on a 30km loaded march during three weeks of intense military training in South Korea this month.

All able-bodied South Korean men are required to serve in the military for about two years, but Son received an exemption for leading the country to gold at the 2018 Asian Games.

Son, 27, will complete his mandatory military service while the Premier League remains suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The forward, currently in self-quarantine in line with tightened entry rules due to the Covid-19 pandemic, will begin the stint on April 20 at a Marine Corps unit in the southernmost island of Jeju.

An official at the Marine Corps said Son 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.

A video of military training posted by the Military Manpower Administration on YouTube showed a group of soldiers undergoing CBRN training in a gas chamber. After a few minutes they are let out, tears streaming down their faces and pouring water over their heads.

"The CBRN training is usually the toughest part of the boot camp," the video says.

The Marine Corps official said Son would wrap up the three-week service period with a group march of up to 30km.

"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," the official told Reuters.

"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."

He said the military would conduct regular temperature and medical checks on all servicemen and required them to maintain distance during the training to prevent any coronavirus infections.

Military doctors would also provide treatment for Son's fractured arm if necessary.

Updated: April 7, 2020 12:36 PM

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