Singapore top swimmer Joseph Schooling granted National Service deferment

Singaporean swimmer Joseph Schooling competes in the men's 200m butterfly heat of the London Olympics held on July 30, 2012 at the Aquatics Centre in London, UK. -- ST FILE PHOTO: MUGILAN RAJASEGERAN  
Singaporean swimmer Joseph Schooling competes in the men's 200m butterfly heat of the London Olympics held on July 30, 2012 at the Aquatics Centre in London, UK. -- ST FILE PHOTO: MUGILAN RAJASEGERAN  

The government has granted swimmer Joseph Schooling's request to defer his National Service obligation, enabling the 18-year-old to focus on training until after the 2016 Olympics.

He is due for enlistment in 2014 but has been granted deferment until 31 August 2016.

Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen said in Parliament on Monday that the ministry had received a request from the swimmer's parents earlier this year.

He said: "The Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth supported the appeal for deferment as they assessed that in his previous achievements in international competitions, Mr Schooling had potential to do well in the next Olympics."

"As this appeal satisfies all the conditions for deferment of exceptional sportsmen, the Armed Forces council has decided to grant deferment for Mr Schooling for full-time NS till 31 August 2016 in order for him to train and do well in 2016 Olympic Games. He will be enlisted for full-time NS once his deferment ends."

Schooling, is based in the United States where he is ranked among the top swimmers in his age group. He was the youngest competitor to qualify for the semi-finals of the 200m butterfly and 200m individual medley at the world championships in Barcelona this year.