NATIONAL servicemen who have the potential to be high-performance athletes should be allowed to incorporate their training as part of their national service obligation ("SNOC keen to help athletes juggle NS and sports"; Tuesday, and "Athletes, officials support flexibility in NS deferments"; yesterday).
The athletes, through their successes, can play an important role in bonding the nation through collective pride and support, to fulfil the objectives of total defence.
They also possess grit, determination, discipline and commitment - values that are necessary for our survival.
In order not to let NS be a stumbling block to an athlete's - and ultimately, Singapore's - success, perhaps a specialised NS programme could be drawn up, tailored to the needs of an athlete in training, while providing them with basic military skills.
The regimented environment of national service is also well suited to an athlete preparing for a major competition.
Such a tailored programme can allow athletes to follow their dreams of winning gold for Singapore and meet their NS obligations at the same time.
Sportsmen are, after all, a key part of total defence in bringing the nation together.