He has crossed a major hurdle towards his Olympic dream, but swimmer Joseph Schooling is not celebrating just yet.
The 18-year-old knows bigger tests lie ahead, and he will not rest till he achieves his dream of winning an Olympic gold at Rio in August 2016.
In a telephone interview from Florida, where he is based, the Bolles School student said last night: "The (national service deferment) is just one hurdle to cross and it feels good to cross it.
"But the job is not done yet and there is some way to go before I achieve my goal... which is to win a gold at the Olympics and I am setting myself up over the years to do that.
"I will celebrate when I do that." The 2012 Olympian was granted deferment from full-time national service (NS) yesterday, when Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen announced in Parliament that Schooling will now enlist after August 2016.
Dr Ng said deferment may be granted "in exceptional circumstances to individual sportsmen who are assessed to be potential medal winners at international competitions".
He also revealed that Schooling's family had submitted a written request to Mindef for NS deferment "earlier this year", which was supported by his training schedule and his coach's current targets.
The butterfly specialist said: "I have been improving steadily and am convinced I can do well at the 2016 Olympics, and right now I am setting myself in a good position to do that."