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SINGAPORE - Mention football and Nanyang Polytechnic student Sameer Ashraff perks up because he loves a game anytime.

But mention pull-ups and the standing broad jump, and the 20-year-old slumps in defeat.

Those are the two items in the National Physical Fitness Assessment (Napfa) test that stop him from getting the minimum requirement of a Silver award for National Service-bound students.

A Silver would allow him to skip an additional eight-week physical training programme.

Known as the Physical Training Phase (PTP), it lengthens National Service (NS).

So Mr Sameer welcomes the idea mooted by Second Defence Minister Chan Chun Sing to have the Napfa test a year earlier for polytechnics and Institutes of Technical Education (ITE) so those who are struggling to meet the minimum requirements will have a year to get in shape.

"It gives people second chances if they fail the test... the more chances you have, the higher the possibility of you passing," said Mr Sameer.

Mr Chan, a former army chief, who also sits on the Committee to Strength-en National Service, told reporters that the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is working with schools on a possible scheme that could be similar to the military's voluntary fitness programme.

It allows unfit operationally ready national servicemen to prepare for the Individual Physical Proficiency Test.

Polytechnic and ITE students TNP spoke to were mostly in favour of this idea.

ITE College West student Nicholas Lau, 19, said: "I know many people fail the test so this is a better approach to ensure that there are fewer failures. It saves you from going into the PTP batch and serving for an extra two months, too."

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