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There Are No Holidays for Hiddink Squad

Posted December. 29, 2001 14:01,   


It is the end of the year and people are generally excited. However, the holiday season is only luxurious though for the `Hiddink Squad` with the World Cup finals five months ahead.

National team`s left offender Lee Cheon-Soo (21, Korea University) is one of the players who cannot enjoy the holidays. In spite of the successive requests of interviews with newspapers, and appearance on the TV program and various events, he cannot neglect the physical training. He tries to strengthen his physical strength with weight training and running every morning, and he does not skip the training even in the afternoon when he is tied up. He always carries his uniform in his car.

The national team players including Lee Cheon-Soo received a kind of `homework` from Head Coach Guus Hiddink. It is so-called a `power weight training program`. This program focuses on the strengthening of the lower body and abdominal muscle as an idiosyncratic training program, considering the difference in individual abilities of players. It takes a bit more than an hour for Lee Cheon-Soo, who focuses on strengthening the knee, the abdominal muscle, and back thigh.

`The cemetery training` also constitutes Lee`s important routine. The running practice which has been conducted on the steep slope of Incheon public cemetery nearby his home for restless 40 minutes is very tough even for Lee Cheon-Soo, who takes pride in his indefatigable stamina among the national team. Lee said, "I could win first place in the physical test of the national team because I ran in the cemetery. Since I can see my grandparents who were laid to rest, the cemetery is a perfect place for training."

The players who belong to the domestic professional club are mostly concentrating their efforts on building up their power through the team training camp. Song Jong-Gook (23, Busan Icons) has practiced by himself in the apartment complex nearby his home in Seoul before he joined the team training in Busan on 27th. Song said that "many people recognize me in the neighborhood. So, I usually practice after 9 o`clock in the evening. There is no time to enjoy the holiday season."

Choi Tae-Uk (21, Anyang LG) has also participated in his team`s training camp in Jinju from 26th. He is concentrating on the lower body training to make up the recurrent cramps in his legs. Lee Eul-Yong (26, Bucheon SK) who was ordered to strengthen his left knee said enthusiastically that he planned to continue the practice in his team`s practice ground after the training camp would end on 29th. Kim Tae-Young (31, Chunnam Dragons) devoted himself to the rehabilitation program in a hospital in Insan due to his left knee injury, and he was convened to the team training camp on 27th.

It is not only players who have been busy during the holiday season. The coaching staffs are also spending the bustling holidays, making phone calls to the players in order to check the physical condition and training process of the players. This is also a mission given by Hiddink.

Sung-Won Joo swon@donga.com