Monday, April 26, 2010

More flexible NS deferment policy can help sportsmen

I READ with disappointment last Saturday's report, 'Jumper not allowed to defer NS, will miss 2 key junior meets'.

I feel the disappointment of long jumper Matthew Goh, whose dreams of winning a medal at the World and Asian junior athletics championships in July were dashed after the Ministry of

Defence (Mindef) rejected his appeal to defer his national service stint.

I understand that Mindef has to follow its rules and guidelines, but I wish it could be more flexible in this case as Matthew has already qualified for both meets and he is asking for only a three-month deferment.

I wonder if the people who decided not the grant his appeal know the impact their decision has on his life? I cannot understand how a three-month deferment would have any impact on Mindef's operational readiness.

Mindef should learn from the government of Cyprus - a small country with a big heart that exempted professional tennis player Marco Baghdatis from otherwise mandatory national service so he could concentrate on playing tennis.

I hope Mindef can reconsider its decision as it should not just be the job of the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports to nurture local sports talent - other ministries need to chip in too.

Cheryl Tan (Ms)

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