Tottenham Hotspur forward Son Heung-min appears to be as proficient with a weapon in his hand as he is with a ball at his feet, finishing his military training as one of the top five performers.
The 27-year-old opted to use the suspension of the Premier League season to complete three weeks of basic training back in South Korea, reporting for duty on April 20.
Son gained exemption from the full two years of mandatory military service after winning the gold medal for his nation at the 2018 Asian Games, though was still required to undergo training.
The program included shooting and bayonet skills, chemical, biological and radiological training, individual battle skills and first aid training, with Son passing with flying colours.
Marine Corps officials were blown away by Son’s performance, finishing as one of the top five performers out of the 157 trainees and receiving a prize at a graduation ceremony on Friday.
‘He received the Pilsung prize, which is one of five types of awards for best performers,’ a Marine Corps officer told The Korea Herald.
‘All the courses were judged in a fair and strict manner, and his military training officers have said he went through the training faithfully.’
Son excelled at shooting during his stay on the southern island of Jeju, hitting 10 out of 10 shots on target according to officials to earn his prize, with ‘Pilsung’ – which means ‘certain victory’ – a rallying cry across South Korean armed forces.
With South Korea still fighting the coronavirus crisis, the graduation ceremony was not opened to the public or the media but the Marine Corps uploaded a series of photos of Son to their Facebook page.
In addition to his basic training, Son still needs to complete 544 hours of community service over the next 34 months while remaining an active professional athlete.
Son had fractured his right arm against Aston Villa a few weeks before football in the UK was suspended, and he will shortly return to London as the Premier League gears up to return.
Spurs have opened their training ground for players to train individually and soon hope to increase that to small groups as lockdown measures are eased, with full training taking place before a prospective June restart date for the season.
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