SINGAPORE — It was a silver rather than a gold, but Shanti Pereira nonetheless became the first Singaporean in 49 years to land an Asian Games athletics medal, after she came in second in the women's 100m final in Hangzhou on Saturday (30 September).
The 27-year-old, who had already broken the women's 100m national record six times amid her stellar 2023, clocked in 11.27 seconds at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Stadium to finish just 0.04sec behind China's Ge Manqi (11.23sec). Bahrain's Hajar Al-Khaldi was third in 11.35sec.
Pereira thus lands Singapore's 19th track and field medal at the Asian Games, with the 18th medal earned back in 1974 when the women's 4x400m team of Chee Swee Lee, Maimoon Bakar Azlan, Glory Barnabas and Lee Tai Jong also won the silver.
Only two of those 19 medals were gold. The first was Ng Liang Chiang back in the first Asian Games in New Delhi in 1951, when he won the 110m hurdles race, while the last gold medallist was Chee Swee Lee, who won the women's 400m at the 1974 Teheran Games.
Besides shattering the 100m national record six times, she also rewrote the 200m national mark four times - the last time at the World Championships in Budapest in August.
Pereira will have another shot at gold, as she starts preparation for the women's 200m competition, which begins on Sunday. Her Asiad campaign will end on Tuesday with the 4x100m relay.
Marc Brian Louis smashes men's 100m national record
There was also good news for Singapore athletics in the men's 100m, as Marc Brian Louis smashed the 22-year national record during the semi-finals.
Although the 21-year-old could only finish 13th out of 24 sprinters and miss out on a final spot, his 10.27sec run significantly lowered U.K. Shyam's long-standing national record of 10.37sec, which was set at the World University Games in 2001.
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