SINGAPORE — With her blinding acceleration and remarkable poise, Shanti Pereira answered every challenge in this year with resounding brilliance. SEA Games golds, Asian Athletics Championships triumphs, Asian Games silver in the 100m dash - it has already been a spectacular 2023 for the Singapore sprinter.
On Monday evening (2 October) at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Stadium, however, the 27-year-old finally ascended to her biggest success on the track, as she stormed to an Asian Games gold medal in the women's 200m final in 23.03 seconds.
China's Li Yuting was second in 23.28sec, while Bahrain's Edidiong Odiong claimed bronze in 23.48sec.
Upon crossing the finish line, Pereira buried her face in her hands, soaking in her monumental achievement with happy tears.
"Oh my god, what a season," the former Singapore Sports School student told CNA in a live interview shortly after.
"I was focused on my execution from start to finish. When I saw I was ahead, I just ran for it.”
Pereira becomes only the third Singaporean to have won an athletics gold medal at the Asian Games. The first was Ng Liang Chiang in the men's 110m hurdles, way back in the inaugural Games edition in 1951.
The last gold winner was Chee Swee Lee, who won the women's 400m in the Iranian capital of Teheran in 1974. That was also the last time Singapore had won an athletics medal - until Pereira's silver-medal showing in the 100m sprint on Saturday.
In a year in which she lowered the national record of her pet event four times - from 23.46sec to 22.57sec in August's World Championships in Budapest - Pereira took the lead at the bend, fending off a host of rivals and pulled away in dominant fashion at the end to claim this monumental win.
Her gold is Singapore's third at this Asian Games, after sailors Maximilian Maeder and Ryan Lo won their race categories at the Ningbo Xiangshan Sailing Centre last Wednesday. Team Singapore athletes also cliched five silvers and four bronzes so far.
Pereira's Asian Games campaign will end on Tuesday with the women's 4x100m relay.
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.