Schooling's efforts a form of national service

I welcome the news that Singapore's first Olympic gold medallist has been granted deferment from national service until after 2020 ("Joseph Schooling's NS deferred till after 2020 Olympics"; ST Online, Aug 15).

I am a strong supporter that all male Singaporean citizens must do national service.

However, just like we exempt those who are deemed to be unfit to do national service for medical or other reasons, the Ministry of Defence must have the conviction to also exempt or defer citizens who are in a special way doing national service, just like Joseph Schooling is.

I am quite sure that if not for Schooling's deferment in 2013, we would not have the Olympic gold that we are rejoicing over today.

The disruption to the strict training regime would have surely disrupted Schooling's progress and would have easily set back his target by many years.

He is only 21 and the best is yet to come. He may be on course to break the world record and win many more Olympic medals for Singapore. He must surely be given a real chance to achieve that.

Isn't this a form of national service too?

Rajasegaran Ramasamy