Lee Kee-heung, president of the Korean Sport & Olympic Committee, shakes hands with Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) © Korean Sport & Olympic Committee

South Korea's Sports and Olympic Committee announced it has been decided to send about 400 athletes to military camps next week as part of preparations for the 2024 Paris Olympics, citing the need to instil mental toughness in athletes.

The athletes, including both men and women, will travel to a military training camp in the southeastern port city of Pohang on Monday, December 18, the committee said. The southeastern port city will host a three-day training exercise to build flexibility and teamwork.

Officials at the committee revealed on December 14 that he's not worried about getting injured. This is due to the fact that the athletes will not be forced to undergo any kind of tough military training. There will be friendship-building activities such as morning jogging and rubber boat rides. At the moment, the details of the training camp with the Korean marines are in the final stages of preparation.

Kee Heung Lee said he hoped next week's training would help inspire the country's Olympic athletes in a "real crisis situation" as South Korea won just six gold medals at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, its fewest in nearly 40 years.

Kee Heung Lee first proposed the military training camp idea after the October Asian Games. Describing it as "the worst situation for South Korea", Lee said that if their performance does not improve, South Korea may only win five or six gold medals at the Paris Games.

South Korea has a value system that places sport on a par with national pride, and for a long time, from the 1970s to the present day, male athletes who win a gold medal at the Asian Games or a medal at the Olympics have been exempted from military service.