FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - International Friendly - South Korea vs Honduras - Daegu Stadium, Daegu, South Korea - May 28, 2018. South Korea's Son Heung-Min celebrates scoring their first goal.(Reuters)
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, a Marine Corps official told Reuters on Tuesday.
All able-bodied men are required to serve in the military for around two years in South Korea, which is technically still at war with the North, 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 London club said on Monday.
Son, currently in self-quarantine in line with tightened entry rules due to the COVID-19 pandemic, would begin the stint on April 20 at a Marine Corps unit in the southernmost island of Jeju, local media said.
The Military Manpower Administration (MMA), which handles conscription issues, declined to confirm the date and location citing privacy rules.
But 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 MMA 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 kg of equipment but it could be much lighter for alternative trainees depending on the programme."
He added that 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 infection.
Military doctors would also provide treatment for Son's fractured arm if necessary.
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