Olympic Gold Medalist Joseph Schooling Gets New Service Deferment

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Joseph Schooling Photo Courtesy: Andy Ringgold/Aringo

Singapore Olympic champion Joseph Schooling Tuesday received a new service deferment, which clears the way for him to compete in next summer’s Tokyo Olympics.

All male citizens and permanent residents of Singapore over the age of 18 have to serve two years in the military, police or emergency services. Schooling, who had deferred his service in 2014 ahead of the Rio Olympics, was planning to do his service after the Tokyo Olympics. But the one-year postponement of the games to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic has altered those plans.

Schooling, 25, and fellow swimmer Quah Zheng Wen were both granted deferments. Both will enlist in service if the postponed Olympics are cancelled. Schooling has stated a desire to compete internationally through at least the 2024 Olympics.

“Deferment may be granted to exceptional sportsmen who are assessed to be potential medal winners for Singapore at top-tier international competitions like the Olympic Games,” read a statement from the Singapore ministry. “Applicants will have to show why deferment is necessary for them to compete successfully at these competitions and bring national pride to Singapore.”

Schooling won gold in the 100 butterfly in Rio, shocking the favored Michael Phelps and Chad le Clos, who tied for silver with Laszlo Cseh. It was the first ever Olympic gold medal for Singapore.

Joseph Schooling has struggled to replicate his performances in Rio. After wrapping up a stellar college career at the University of Texas in 2018, he’s switched his training base several times. Following a disappointing 2019 World Championships where Schooling didn’t make it out of prelims in either the 50 and 100 butterfly, he reunited with former coach Sergio Lopez Miro to prep for Tokyo.