‘I was just super pumped’: Singapore's Shanti Pereira blazes to SEA Games gold as records fall
PHNOM PENH: Unlike in 2022, there were no tears of joy at the end of Shanti Pereira’s 200m final at this year's Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
But the outcome was the same. Triumph.
The Singaporean sprinter's impeccable streak continued on Monday (May 8) as she took gold in the women's 200m, smashing national and meet records in the process.
Pereira, who is the defending champion in the event, clocked a time of 22.69s at the Morodok Techo National Stadium.
This broke Singapore's national record of 22.89s - set by herself just last month - as well as the SEA Games record of 23.01s, set by Philippines’ Kristina Knott in 2019.
Knott, the champion that year, finished a distant fourth on Monday, clocking 23.79s behind Vietnam's silver medallist Thi Nhi Yen Tran (23.54s) and Malaysian Zaidatul Husniah Zulkifli in third place (23.6s).
Singapore's other representative, Elizabeth-Ann Tan, finished fifth in a new personal best of 24.03s.
“I went into the Games really calm, off the season that I had. I was really just excited to be able to compete (at the Games) again," Pereira told reporters after her stunning run.
“I knew I had fierce competitors like Kristina and the other people so I really had to get my game on. I’m just really happy."
At the 2021 Games, Pereira won 200m gold with a time of 23.52s.
“It feels so different (from the last Games). Mentally coming in, I was just super pumped this time round, just excited to run here (at the Games) again," the 26-year-old said on Monday.
“No tears, maybe later (during the victory ceremony)!”
Singapore’s sprint queen comes into this year's regional meet in a scintillating vein of form, having smashed a number of national records in March and April.
Last month, Pereira clocked the last 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.
That timing was the second fastest set by an Asian woman in 2023.
No Singaporean woman has won the both the 100m and 200m sprint events at the same Games.
Pereira’s next event will be the women’s 4x100m relay on Wednesday, before she goes for gold in the 100m on Friday.
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