More Sites
Search
S Korea beat Japan 2-0 to win bronze
10:50 AEST Sat Aug 11 2012

South Korea's football players won the men's Olympic bronze medal on Friday, but many are celebrating an even greater prize - the chance to skip military service.

Medal winners in South Korea are exempted from the 21-months of duty that their fellow countrymen must do before they are 29 because their endeavours are seen as benefiting the country.

The 2-0 victory over Japan and military service exemption removes a major hurdle for many other top Korean footballers looking to pursue careers in European leagues.

"I'm very happy to win the bronze medal and everybody here will now get a new chance by being exempted from military service, said striker Park Chu-young, who scored a stunning first goal.

"That's what I'm really pleased about because that was our aim at the start of the tournament."

Kim Bok-yung, who will join English League Championship team Cardiff, said being able to skip military service "makes me as happy as winning the bronze medal."

"This is one of the happiest moments of my life," he said. "It is a big problem for Korean players, but now I have avoided it. I will have no problem staying in Europe."

Beating Japan was a motivation in itself for the players. The two countries are Asia's fiercest football rivals and duelling contenders for the title of the region's best team.

Japan beat South Korea on the way to victory at last year's Asia Cup.

The bronze was South Korea's first football medal at the Games. Japan has also won just one medal - also a bronze - in 1968, the last time an Asian time got an Olympic award.

When the final whistle blew, the players formed a circle in the middle of the pitch and jumped around. Some took their shirts and traded them for Korean flags from members of the crowd.

Coach Hong Myung-bo said he didn't dare go into the dressing room for 10 minutes after the match such was the noise that the team was making inside.

Hong, overseeing his last game for the under-23 side, said avoiding military service was a motivating factor, but noted the exemption for the players was not only an individual benefit but was "important for the future of the Korean football in general."

Did you like this article? Share your thoughts
SCHEDULEDAY0
27Jul
DAY1
28Jul
DAY2
29Jul
DAY3
30Jul
DAY4
31Jul
DAY5
1Aug
DAY6
2Aug
DAY7
3Aug
DAY8
4Aug
DAY9
5Aug
DAY10
6Aug
DAY11
7Aug
DAY12
8Aug
DAY13
9Aug
DAY14
10Aug
DAY15
11Aug
DAY16
12Aug
Opening Ceremony
Archery
Athletics
Badminton
Basketball
Beach Volleyball
Boxing
BMX
Cycling
Diving
Equestrian
Fencing
Football
Gymnastics
Handball
Hockey
Judo
Modern Pentathlon
Rowing/Canoe/Kayak
Sailing
Shooting
Swimming
Synchro
Table Tennis
Taekwondo
Tennis
Triathlon
Volleyball
Water Polo
Weightlifting
Wrestling
Closing ceremony
DAY0
27Jul
DAY1
28Jul
DAY2
29Jul
DAY3
30Jul
DAY4
31Jul
DAY5
1Aug
DAY6
2Aug
DAY7
3Aug
DAY8
4Aug
DAY9
5Aug
DAY10
6Aug
DAY11
7Aug
DAY12
8Aug
DAY13
9Aug
DAY14
10Aug
DAY15
11Aug
DAY16
12Aug
You need the latest version of Flash Player.
Enjoy the most vivid content on the web
Watch video without extra features
Interact with applications on your favourite sites
Upgrade now