SINGAPORE — Shanti Pereira took her first step towards her dream of double sprint golds at the 2023 Hangzhou Asian Games on Friday evening (29 September) - but not before a tense wait for the overall results of the women's 100m heats.
The Singapore sprint sensation - winner of the 100m and 200m races at both the SEA Games and Asian Athletics Championships this year - could only finish third in the second heat in 11.42 seconds at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Stadium.
That left her out of the two automatic qualification spots for Saturday's final - which was taken by Bahrain's Hajar Al-Khaldi (11.34sec) and Thailand's Supanich Poolkerd (11.36sec) - and she was made to wait anxiously for the results from the third heat.
Thankfully for the 27-year-old, following the third heat, she was confirmed qualification into the final as one of the two best non-automatic qualifiers, clocking the sixth-fastest time of the heats.
Pereira - who broke the women's 100m national record six times this year - started off superbly, powering into the lead within 30 metres of her heat. However, she seemed to ease off too much at the end, allowing Al-Khaldi and Supanich to sweep past her for the automatic qualifying spots.
Following Saturday's women's 100m final, Pereira will begin her 200m medal push on Sunday, before finishing her Asian Games campaign in the 4x100m relay on Tuesday.
Frustration for Singapore swimmers
Friday also marked the end of the swimming competition at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Park Aquatics Centre, and it was another frustrating evening for Singapore's swimmers as they narrowly missed in winning another medal to add to Teong Tzen Wei's lone silver in the men's 50m butterfly.
Gan Ching Hwee, winner of four golds at both the 2022 and 2023 SEA Games, came in fourth in the women's 800m freestyle final, clocking 8min 37.54sec to finish behind China's bronze medallist Yang Peiqi (8:35.47). The 20-year-old Singaporean had also come in fourth in her women's 1,500m freestyle race on Sunday.
Another Chinese swimmer, Li Bingjie, claimed gold in 8:20.01, while Japan's Waka Kobori was second in 8:28.78.
There was further heartache for Singapore in the final race of the evening, the women's 4x100m medley. The quartet of Quah Ting Wen, Quah Jing Wen, Letitia Sim and Levenia Sim finished the race in third place, but their medal hopes were dashed when the team was disqualified.
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