Wednesday, February 20, 2019 06:12:54 AM
Son Heung-min will rejoin his Tottenham Hotspur team-mates next week buzzing after his emotional rollercoaster ride at the Asian Games in Jakarta.
The decision by Spurs to release Son for a far-flung, under-23 tournament already looks like a shrewd piece of business after he led South Korea to a gold medal that spares him a career-threatening stint of military service.
One of three permitted over-age players in the Korean squad, the 26-year-old forward recently signed a new five-year deal with the London club and was quick to thank Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino after a 2-1 extra-time win over Japan on Saturday.
"I'm so grateful to Tottenham because they let me come here," Son told AFP, clutching his gold medal and grinning from ear to ear.
"Normally that's not an easy decision. I would have felt very sorry if I didn't win the gold medal," he added, after escaping almost two years of compulsory military service.
"I really want to say thank you to the coach, the players and fans of Spurs. They are so special."
Son's plight has captured the hearts of Spurs fans, who have taken to social media in their thousands to wish the player luck in Indonesia.
Nearly every able-bodied South Korean male is required to perform 21 months of military service before the age of 28, although the government rewards Asian Games gold medals and Olympic medals of any colour with an exemption.
"I'm so grateful for all the support," said Son, who will have missed at least three games at the start of the Premier League season to play the Asian Games.
"It means a lot to me. Now I'm looking forward to getting back to England and showing what I can do. I'll continue to work hard for Tottenham."
- Tears of joy -
Hugely popular at Spurs, Son joked before the final that he was upset team-mates Harry Kane and Dele Alli hadn't texted.
With the weight of the world lifted from his shoulders after overcoming Japan, he revealed that he was still waiting.
"Not yet, but it doesn't matter -- I know they're focused on the Premier League so no worries," smiled Son.
"The coaching staff from Tottenham have been watching me. I hope this makes them happy. It's the best present for my life."
Goals from Lee Seung-woo and Hwang Hee-chan in sweltering West Java will allow the South Korea pin-up to see out his new contract in London, although a late header from Ayase Ueda meant the defending champions had to survive a heart-stopping last few minutes.
Son, substituted in the dying seconds, sprinted from the bench to embrace World Cup goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo, sobbing tears of joy as they rolled on the turf together.
"I've got the gold medal around my neck but it really belongs to the Korean people," he said. "Without them we couldn't win this tournament."
Son's former club Bayer Leverkusen refused to release him for the 2014 Asian Games when the Koreans also scooped gold.
His tears after South Korea's quarter-final defeat by Honduras at the 2016 Rio Olympics moved a nation, and thousands offered to do double their own military service in an online petition if Son could be pardoned.
After his ordeal was finally over, the World Cup star complained his chunky winner's medal was "heavy".
But it was worth more than its weight in gold to him, his Korean team-mates -- and perhaps to Spurs.
"We were a hungry bunch of guys and that hunger got us through," said Son. "It's the best day in my life!"
GAS explosion has become very common in the country nowadays. Even if someone escapes death, the victim has to suffer burn injury or loss of valuable organs. The authorities concerned still did not take any effective step to control such incidents. In the latest incident, seven people including a couple ...
Malaika Arora, who is recently making headlines for her relationship with Arjun Kapoor and the couples social PDA, recently opened up about her divorce with Arbaaz Khan on a radio show. Talking about her divorce she revealed that it was a mutual decision to part ways so that they could ...
Reuters, Islamabad :Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Tuesday Pakistan was ready to cooperate with India in its investigation of a deadly bombing in the disputed Kashmir region last week, which India blamed on Pakistan, but warned of retaliation if attacked.Tension between the nuclear-armed neighbors has risen sharply over the ...
ABOUT one lakh students have applied to the Directorate of Primary Education (DPE) of the Primary and Mass Education Ministry for reexamination of their results, claiming that justice will be established if the authorities work properly. Some of students who failed in the examination alleged that they did not get ...
AP, Washington :Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said in an interview that aired Sunday that a "crime may have been committed" when President Donald Trump fired the head of the FBI and tried to publicly undermine an investigation into his campaign's ties to Russia. McCabe also said in the ...
Sheikh Arif Bulbon :Actress of present generation Moury Salim has been engaged with acting for many days. Though she has been busy with acting for long time but could not get the opportunity to work in challenging roles properly or the directors did not utilise her acting quality appropriately. On ...
BBC Online :Real Madrid missed the chance to go second in La Liga as Girona came from behind to record a surprise away win on Sunday.Casemiro powerfully headed in from Toni Kroos' deep cross from the right wing to give the hosts a first-half lead.Cristhian Stuani's penalty made it 1-1 ...
THE international organisations and development partners working in Bangladesh did not surrender or renew the Customs Passbooks of their 395 non-Bangladeshi staff till the date. The National Board of Revenue had directed them to complete the task within the January 31 deadline, newspapers reported. According to NBR, employees of 21 ...
City Desk :A total of 40 under-graduate students from different academic years of Dhaka University (DU) have been awarded Sumitomo Corporation Scholarship of Japan today February 17, 2019 at Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Bhaban of the university.Dhaka University Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dr. Md. Akhtaruzzaman presided over the function while Treasurer ...
AFP, Colombo :Kusal Perera became a national hero in Sri Lanka on Sunday after scoring an unbeaten 153 to guide his country to a sensational first Test victory in South Africa.The country's cricket legends and politicians lauded Perera, who has become a linchpin for the ailing national side since fighting ...
AFP, Tokyo :Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe nominated US President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize last autumn after being requested to do so by Washington, a Japanese newspaper reported Sunday.Washington sounded out Tokyo over the possibility of nominating Trump for the prize after his landmark summit with North ...
Actress Shraddha Kapoor obliges for some selfies with her fans amidst a busy schedule. The actress was pictured today in London where she is working on her upcoming project Street Dancer 3D. The official Instagram handle of Manav Manglani had recently posted pictures of her taking selfies for her fans ...