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Singapore sprint queen Shanti Pereira wins 100m gold, clinches historic SEA Games double

02:17 Min
Singapore’s Shanti Pereira took gold in the women’s 100m final at the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games on Friday (May 12). Lauren Ong reports from Phnom Penh. 

PHNOM PENH: When she made her SEA Games debut 10 years ago, Shanti Pereira was just a fresh-faced teenager "just happy to be there".

Fast forward a decade, Pereira, 26, has become the undisputed sprint queen of Southeast Asia and the first Singaporean woman to win both the 100m and 200m events at the same edition of the Games.

After clinching gold in the women’s 100m final at the 32nd SEA Games on Friday (May 12). Pereira clocked 11.41s ahead of Thailand's Supanich Poolkerd in 11.58s and Thi Nhi Yen Tran of Vietnam in 11.75s to triumph at the Morodok Techo National Stadium.

Compatriot Elizabeth-Ann Tan finished sixth in 11.96s.

"Back then, I came in fourth for everything (in the 100m and 200m events)," she recalled. "Now, I'm just looking back and I'm just like: 'Wah'. You can quote me, W-A-H."

Now the undisputed sprint queen of Southeast Asia, Pereira said she was glad she kept her cool to come from behind to take the victory.

"The (100m) race execution wasn't as great as I wanted it to be, but I'm just glad I didn't panic, even though the girls were beside me for the first part of the race," she told reporters.

Singapore's Shanti Pereira sprinting to victory in the women's 100m race ahead of her closest competitor from Thailand, at the Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia on May 12, 2023. (Photo: CNA/Jeremy Long)

And prior to the event, the fact that she could potentially make history was on her mind, said Pereira.

"I'm not going to lie, it was. (It's just) facts, my timing coming into the Games and the winning time at past editions. That was definitely something I thought about, but at the end of the day, you never know what's going to happen until the day itself, on the start line."

Pereira came into this year's regional meet in scintillating form, having smashed a number of national records in March and April.

Last month, she clocked the previous national record of 22.89s in the women’s 200m heats at the Australian Track and Field Open in Brisbane – the fastest timing set by an Asian woman in 2023.

At the same meet, she notched a new national record of 11.37s en route to winning the women's 100m finals. This was the second-fastest set by an Asian woman in 2023.

Earlier in the day, Pereira set a time of 11.49s, finishing first in the 100m heats.

Singapore's Marc Brian Louis (right) celebrates his silver medal in the men's 100m at the Southeast Asian Games, with Joshua Hanwei Chua who finished sixth, on May 12, 2023. (Photo: CNA/Jeremy Long)

On Tuesday (May 9), Pereira won gold in the women's 200m final, smashing national and meet records in the process.

She clocked a time of 22.69s to retain her title from the last Games.


The next race - the men's 100m final - saw Singapore's Marc Brian Louis win a silver medal in 10.39s.

The time matches his personal best and is 0.02s off the national record set by UK Shyam in 2001.

Louis' silver improves upon his bronze at the 2021 SEA Games. The last Singaporean man to finish in second place in the event was Gary Yeo in 2011; the country has never won the men's 100m.

Thailand's Soraoat Dapbang was champion on Friday in 10.37s while Malaysian Muhammad Haiqal Hanafi won bronze in 10.45s, edging out compatriot Khairul Hafiz Jantan in a photo finish.

Singaporean Joshua Hanwei Chua finished sixth in 10.78s.

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Source: CNA/jo


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