S’porean Athlete Max Maeder Granted NS Deferment for 4 Years

Maximilian Maeder, Singapore’s rising star in kitefoiling, has been granted a deferment from his National Service (NS) obligations by the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) until 31 August 2028.

This decision will allow him to fully focus on his training and competition ahead of the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games.

Maximilian Maeder, otherwise known as Max, is turning 18 this year. Even at such a young age, he has been making waves in the kitefoiling world. 

(Don’t feel bad, I had to look up what kitefoiling was too while writing this. Kitefoiling is a sport where riders race while standing on a surfboard attached to a kite. Kite foiling involves riders gliding above the water on boards equipped with hydrofoils, propelled by large kites. They can achieve impressive speeds of up to 45 knots (51 mph))

It is making its Olympic debut at the Paris 2024 Games.

Max’s recent achievements include winning gold at the 2022 Asian Games and clinching the world champion title at the 2023 and 2024 Formula Kite World Championships.

His impressive track record has positioned him as one of the promising athletes to win gold in Paris.

NS Deferment: What It Means

It is no news that in Singapore, all male citizens are required to serve full-time National Service upon reaching the age of 18.

However, a lesser known fact is that deferments can be granted to exceptional athletes who are potential medal winners at international competitions, such as the Olympics.

Each application is carefully assessed by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) and Mindef.

“Mr Maeder has met the criteria for long-term deferment, having performed well at high level competitions,” said MINDEF in a statement, “He will be enlisted for full-time NS once his deferment ends.”

“MINDEF wishes Mr Maeder every success for the Olympic Games,” the statement concluded.

With this, Max joins a select group of Singaporean athletes who have received long-term NS deferments.

Notable among them is swimmer Joseph Schooling, who won Singapore’s first Olympic gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Schooling’s NS deferment, along with Quah Zheng Wen’s, was extended to prepare for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Max’s deferment, effective from 12 September 2024 until 31 August 2028, will enable him to train without interruption for both the Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028 Olympics.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong announced the deferment at the flag presentation ceremony for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Singapore Sailing Federation (SSF) has been instrumental in supporting Maximilian’s deferment application.

SSF President Lincoln Chee expressed gratitude for Mindef’s decision, saying that the extended period will allow Max to reach his full potential as a high-performance athlete.

Max’s parents also shared their relief, highlighting the peace of mind this decision brings as their son continues to represent Singapore on the world stage.

His parents also believe that when the time comes, their son would serve his national duties to the best of his abilities.

“So good one, can skip NS,” some may say, but Max’s deferment is not just about skipping NS.

During this period, he must focus on his preparation for the 2028 Olympics, meeting milestone performance targets and obtaining approval from MCCY and Mindef for any paid activities, including sponsorships. 

Speaking about his future, Max expressed his gratitude to the media, saying, “This goes a long way in supporting me in my sporting endeavours, by giving me assurance that I can continue to train and compete full-time, and do my utmost for Singapore.

The teenager also said that Paris 2024 is not “the be-all and end-all”, intending to continue training and competing consistently.

The Path Ahead

With his deferment secured, Max is poised to continue his winning streak. His upcoming competitions include the second leg of the Kitefoil World Series in Cagliari, Italy, and the Youth Sailing World Championships in Buzios, Brazil.

These events will undoubtedly help him prepare for Paris 2024 and beyond. As he continues to bring pride to Singapore, the nation will be watching and cheering him on every step of the way!

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