National swimmer Joseph Schooling, 18, has been granted a deferment from national service next year to pursue his goal of winning an Olympic medal.
His deferment will end on Aug 31, 2016, after the 2016 Summer Games at Rio de Janeiro.
The 2011 Sportsmen of the Year is Singapore's brightest hopes for an Olympic medal.
Schooling won two golds at the 2011 SEA Games and was the only Singaporean swimmer to qualify for last year's London Olympics. He is also the holder of five national records (50m, 100m and 200m fly records, 200m free and 200m individual medley).
A source told us that young Schooling used to train so hard in the swimming pool, he had difficulty walking.
Here are 10 reasons why only our Singapore Merman deserves to be deferred from National Service (for now at least):
1. At his age, he is second only to Michael Phelps in men's 100m butterfly.
Phelps clocked 51.10 in 2003. Schooling's timing of 52.33 seconds is ranked 2nd in USA Swimming’s all-time top 100 list for his age-group (17-18 years old).
2. Politicians are his supporters.
3. He has down-to-earth parents.
"We know there will be heavy scrutiny (on Joseph's progress) and it is good. We also want proper accountability and not set bad examples and jeopardise the chances of others in the future" - Colin Schooling, Joseph's father (The New Paper, 22 Oct).
Schooling's parents - Colin and May - even provided detailed plans of Joseph’s training schedules and targets in their appeal to MINDEF.
4. He takes criticism in his stride.
5. He is not an artist.
6. He has a sense of humour.
7. He has big ambitions for his country.
Target for 2016: Number one nation in complaints and shopping.
7. He engages his fans.
And share with them personal details.
8. He does the Miley Cyrus tongue better than Miley herself.
Source: Rolling Stones Magazine
9. He has the support of fellow Singaporeans.
10. He is so good.
He teaches stingrays how to swim.
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Top photo is a screenshot from here.