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Tottenham's Son Heung-min starts military training with Marines

All News 14:39 April 20, 2020

SEOUL, April 20 (Yonhap) -- Tottenham Hotspur's South Korean star Son Heung-min reported to a Marine Corps unit on Monday to begin his three-week military training on the southern island of Jeju.

Son will be in camp until May 8, fulfilling requirements of the military service exemption he earned by winning the men's football gold medal for South Korea at the 2018 Asian Games.

Tottenham Hotspur's South Korean forward Son Heung-min (2nd from R) enters the Marine Corps training camp to fulfill his military service duty in Seogwipo, Jeju Island, on April 20, 2020. (Yonhap)

Able-bodied South Korean men must serve about two years in the armed forces. But Son only needs to complete basic training and 544 hours of community service over the next 34 months while remaining an active professional athlete.

The Premier League season has been on hold since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic, and Son returned home later in the month to continue his rehab from a forearm injury and to complete his military training. With the league unlikely to resume any time soon, Son saw a window to get his training done this spring.

All South Korean male athletes who win a gold medal at the Asian Games or a medal of any color at the Olympics receive exemptions from conscription.

The training runs for four weeks for the Army but three weeks for the Marines and the Navy.

Through his social media, Son had urged fans and journalists not to show up at the camp, in line with the government's social distancing drive amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Some 80 of Son's fans and local residents still saw the player off, while about 20 members of the media tried to capture the moment.

In this Associated Press file photo from Feb. 16, 2020, Son Heung-min of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates his team's 3-2 victory over Aston Villa in a Premier League match at Villa Park in Birmingham, England. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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