Son thanks 'special' Spurs as Asian gold spares him military duty

02 September, 2018, 16:00 | Author: Amy Huff
  • Asian Games 2018 LIVE STREAM

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has admitted that he is hoping for the best ahead of Heung-Min Son's crucial Asian Games final, with South Korea playing Japan on Saturday.

The 26-year-old Spurs forward and his South Korea teammates secured their exemptions with the 2-1 win in extra time over regional rivals Japan at Indonesia's Pakan Sari Stadium outside Jakarta Saturday night local time (Saturday morning ET). The South Korean women's handball team collected their seventh Asiad gold medal on Thursday. But without the Korean people behind us we couldn't win this tournament. Military service is compulsory for South Korean males, and Son would have faced at least 21 months of service and the loss of millions in income.

In a country where everyone must perform two years of military service before the age of 28, the only way for elite athletes to bypass this rule is to win gold in the Asian Games or the Olympics.

Elsewhere, the Unified Korea wept tears of sadness as they were denied an emotional women's basketball gold medal in a 71-65 defeat to China.

"I'm not going to wish luck because I haven't so far and I don't want to be the person who wishes him luck and then something wrong happens! ".

Two minutes later, Korea scored a much-awaited goal when Lee Seung-woo, who came on from the bench, sent a screamer following a scrimmage inside Japan's penalty area. "We just trained as a combined team for a month".

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Son could have searched for ways to join military football clubs in South Korea or play in the K3 League, which is possible under his current conscription status, but none of these scenarios matter now.

But whether it's gold or silver, the medal will go down in the history books as it will be the first medal won by a unified Korean team in ball sports at an global multi-sports competition.

Fan Zhendong defeated Lin Gaoyuan in the men's final, and for the women Chen Meng beat Wang Manyu.

Kazakhstan defeated Japan 8-7 to take the men's gold in water polo.

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