Tottenham Hotspur forward Heung-Min Son claims he is eager to represent his native South Korea at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, but admits a decision is yet to be made on his participation. The football tournament at this summer's event is due to begin on 4 August in Brasilia, with South Korea placed in Group C alongside defending champions Mexico, Fiji and Germany.
South Korea beat Switzerland and hosts Great Britain – the latter via a penalty shootout – en route to the semi-finals at London 2012, where they were comfortably defeated 3-0 by Brazil courtesy of goals from Romulo and Leandro Damiao. They then beat Japan to claim bronze. They qualified for the Olympics once again courtesy of a win over Qatar at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U23 Championship in January.
Son, who has also won 46 senior caps for his country, did not play four years ago and could be prevented from appearing this time around, with Tottenham under no obligation to release a player who has scored eight goals in 39 appearances since completing a £21.9m ($42.1m) switch from Bayer Leverkusen. However, he is clearly hopeful that an agreement can be reached ahead of South Korea's opener against minnows Fiji at the Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador.
"I can't say now anything about this," he was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail. "We're still waiting for the decision so I can't say anything.
"Why not [play]? It's a very nice tournament and competition and every player wants to go to play there. I've played in the World Cup and Asian Cup and I haven't played in the Olympics. We'll see what happens."
If Son were granted permission to play at the Olympics, he would likely be absent for the first few weeks of the 2016-17 Premier League season, which is set to begin across the weekend of 13/14 August. His chances could be boosted by a proposal put forward by South Korea in March, when they agreed to help Tottenham's title charge by not selecting the player for international fixtures in the hope that he would be made available to travel to Rio.
"We've asked Tottenham to make Son available for the Olympics as a wild card, and in exchange, we offered not to select him for matches in March," senior men's coach Uli Stielike said. "Tottenham are in a battle for the Premier League title. Since our association is being considerate of the club, we hope they will give us a positive response."