SINGAPORE — Barely 12 hours after earning Singapore's first Asian Games athletics medal in 49 years, Shanti Pereira was back on the track at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Stadium on Sunday (1 October).
After winning a silver medal in the blue-riband women's 100m final on Saturday evening, the sprinter had little time to reflect on her momentous achievement, and was instead preparing for her second and pet event, the women's 200m.
Eventually, the 27-year-old advanced comfortably into Monday evening's final, clocking 23.14 seconds to qualify as the fastest among the 24-woman field.
Bahrain's Edidiong Odiong was second-fastest at 23.35sec, while China's Huang Guifen's 23.54sec effort was third-fastest.
Pereira is bidding to become the first Singaporean track-and-field gold medallist since 1974, when Chee Swee Lee swept to victory in the women's 400m in Iran's capital of Teheran. If she manages to win, she will also become only the third Singaporean to clinch an athletics gold, after Chee and Ng Liang Chiang in the men's 110m hurdles way back in 1951.
She has been in stellar form all year, breaking the women's 200m national record four times and the 100m mark six times, as she won the 100m and 200m races at both the SEA Games and Asian Athletics Championships.
Another Singaporean sprinter, Elizabeth-Ann Tan, finished fourth in her 200m heat in 24.84sec and did not advance into the final.
Meanwhile, hurdler Ang Chen Xiang - who won gold in dramatic fashion at the Cambodia SEA Games in May - qualified for the men's 110m final with a time of 13.90sec, enough for the seventh-best time in the morning heats.
His final is also set for Monday evening, with Kuwait's Yaqoub Al-Youha being the fastest qualifier with a 13.69sec effort.
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