Tottenham forward Son Heung-min has finished a three-week basic military training course in South Korea on Friday and received an award as the top performer among 157 trainees.
Son returned to his homeland last month to fulfill his military service during the coronavirus pandemic that has brought the football season to a standstill.
All able-bodied South Korean men must serve two years in the military, though Son earned an exemption for winning gold at the Asian Games in 2018.
After completing the training course, Son still has to undertake 544 hours of community service over the next 34 months.
‘He received the ‘Pilsung’ prize which is one of five types of awards for best performers,’ Yonhap news agency quoted a Marine Corps officer at the unit on the southern island of Jeju as saying.
‘All the courses were judged in a fair and strict manner, and his military training officers have said he went through the training faithfully.’
Trainees are exposed to tear gas, go on hikes and receive weapons training during their stint with the marines.
Son received a perfect score of 100 in mental evaluation, and also received excellent grades in all subjects, including hitting 10 out of 10 shots on the target in the shooting training.
Son, who was quarantined for two weeks after arriving in Seoul from London at the end of March, completed the training while the Premier League season is suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The forward has not played since fracturing his arm in a league match against Aston Villa on February 16.
He is now expected to return to England in the near future as the Premier League ramp up plans to recommence the season next month.
But he faces the prospect of missing the Premier League’s return to full training due to a new government plan for people arriving in the UK.
Son, who has undertaken two separate fortnights in quarantine, is likely to have to self-isolate for another 14 days with the authorities tightening up measures for those jetting into the country.
Top-flight chiefs have pencilled in a potential date to resume training, which would fall on May 18, and there are hopes that the division may restart on June 8.