Go to contents

South Korean football team returns with gold

Posted September. 04, 2018 07:34,   

Updated September. 04, 2018 07:34


When Son Heung-min, wearing a gold medal around his neck, entered the Arrivals Hall at the Incheon International Airport Terminal 2 on Monday, camera flashes went off everywhere and fans received him with cheers. Unlike the rainy and cloudy weather outside, the airport was full of joy with cheers and warm welcomes from fans. Hundreds of fans held pickets and placards with celebration messages and chanted, “(Son) Heung-min Rocks,” and “Shining (Hwang) Ui-jo,” to congratulate the Korean football team on their second straight win at Asian Games.

Son, who had to shed tears at major international competitions, was able to finally beam with joy after winning gold. He talked about “country and its people.” Son thanked his fans for their support by biting into his gold medal during the ceremony.

“I’m so thrilled to become a champion (for the first time), wearing the South Korean national team uniform. Thank you for all your support,” said Son. “But winning a gold medal is not my only goal. How I do in the future is more important.” His remark showed his determination to become the top player in his team Tottenham Hotspur.

Son Heung-min’s fighting spirit was evident throughout the Asian Games. He missed the first game as he joined the team a bit late. But Son competed in all group matches, which were held every two days against the FIFA regulation, and six matches from the round of 16 to the finals that he had leg cramps after every match. He had to join the South Korean team after participating in Hotspurs Pre-season Tour and the opening game of the English Premier League (EPL).

Coach Kim Hak-beom gave credit to three wild card membersㅡ Song Heung-min, Hwang Ui-jo, and Cho Hyun-wooㅡfor becoming the champion after many twists and turns. “This is by far the hardest trouble (wild card members) gone through,” said Coach Kim. “They always set an example for younger players and encouraged them while giving their best.” When asked what he said to his players before the finals, Coach Kim said, “I told my players that the Japanese flag should never be held higher than ours.”

Jae-Hyeng Kim monami@donga.com