Joseph Schooling Seeks Delay In National Service After Olympics Moved

SINGAPORE: Olympic swimming champion Joseph Schooling seeks to further delay its national service in Singapore in order to compete in the postponed Tokyo Games officials said Wednesday.

The city-state requires all 18-year-old male citizens to serve two years in the military, police, or emergency services, an obligation that authorities seldom let people through.

But Schooling was allowed to defer national service in 2014 to train for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games , where he defeated his idol Michael Phelps to win the 100 meter butterfly gold.

He got another deferment to train for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games , but the Games were moved to next year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Singapore's Defense Ministry said Schooling and another Singapore swimmer, Quah Zheng Wen , have applied to further postpone their national service to compete in the Olympic Games .

The ministry said it would examine details of its training plans and milestones before making a decision.

Schooling faces a tough fight to repeat its 2016 success: He was criticized for being out of shape at last year's Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines, where he won just one individual gold medal.

In 2018, the defense ministry rejected a request from the Singapore soccer player. Ben davis to defer the national service so that he could play in the English Premier League , saying that it did not meet the criteria.

Davis signed a deal with Premier League team Fulham and could now face jail for losing his national service if he returns to Singapore.