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SINGAPORE — Joseph Schooling and Quah Zheng Wen will be fulfilling their National Service (NS) obligations, following the end of their deferments on 31 August.
The Ministry of Defence (Mindef) said in a media statement on Thursday (16 September) that the two national swimmers will be enlisted once the necessary pre-enlistment procedures have been completed.
"Deferment from full-time National Service (NS) was granted to national swimmers Mr Joseph Schooling from 2014 to 2021 for a total of seven years, and Mr Quah Zheng Wen from 2015 to 2021 for a total of six years," the ministry added.
"As previously explained in Parliament, such deferment from full-time NS is granted very selectively for exceptional sportsmen assessed to be potential medal winners at international competitions like the Olympic Games and who are able to bring national pride to Singapore.
"Each appeal for deferment is assessed based on stringent criteria in consultation with the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth."
Represented Singapore at 2016, 2020 Olympics
During their respective deferments, both Schooling, 26, and Quah, 24, represented Singapore at the 2016 and 2020 Summer Olympics.
Schooling won the gold medal for the 100-metres butterfly and set a new Olympic record at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Meanwhile, Quah reached the semi-finals for the 100m and 200m butterfly events in Rio.
However, both swimmers did not make the semi-finals for any of their swimming events at the recent 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Following Mindef's announcement, Schooling also released a statement saying that he is ready to fulfil his NS obligations.
"I am very grateful for the support I’ve received from the Mindef and MCCY for their non-wavering support in my swimming career. Without a doubt, I would not have achieved the results I’ve had without deferring my national service," he said in his statement.
"As a son of Singapore, I am honoured to serve my country. More importantly, now more than ever, my family needs me. It is time for me to fulfil my filial duties. I have been and will continue with the pre-enlistment procedures and will await the next steps from Mindef."
He insisted that he will continue to train for future competitions.
“My intention is to continue swimming. I have resumed my training while I continue with the pre-enlistment procedures and await for instructions from Mindef," he said.
"Right now, I am focused on the present – to continue training and be the pillar of support for my family. I’ll take it one step at a time.”
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