SEA Games 2023: Shanti Pereira shatters Games, national records in dominant 200m win

Sprinter wins in breathtaking style, finishing nearly one second ahead of nearest rival to easily retain gold

Singapore sprinter Shanti Pereira wins the women's 200m race at the 2023 SEA Games. (PHOTO: Lim Weixiang/SNOC)
Singapore sprinter Shanti Pereira wins the women's 200m race at the 2023 SEA Games. (PHOTO: Lim Weixiang/SNOC)

SINGAPORE — Sprinter Shanti Pereira swept to the first leg of her bid for a historic women's 100m and 200m double SEA Games gold on Monday (8 May), trouncing the field with a dominant run in Phnom Penh.

The 26-year-old clocked a stunning 22.69 seconds at the Morodok Tecno National Stadium to retain the gold she won at last year's Hanoi Games, and shatter the Games record of 23.01sec set by the Philippines' Kristina Knott in 2019.

It also broke her own national record of 22.89sec set last month in Brisbane, and finishing nearly one second ahead of silver medallist Thi Nhi Yen Tran of Vietnam (23.54sec). Malaysia's Zaidatul Husniah Zulkifli came in third in 23.60sec.

The Singaporean bolted off to a great start, picked up speed past the bend, and kept extending her lead in a breathtaking run which her gold-medal win was never in doubt.

Pereira had caught the public's attention last month, when she smashed both the 100m and 200m national records in a single weekend in Brisbane.

It was sensational form for the sprinter, after she began training full-time in January upon joining the Sport Excellence (Spex) Scholarship programme, which provides financial and other support for elite athletes.

She had clinched gold in the 200m at the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore, but had to wait seven years to regain the gold again at the 2022 edition in Hanoi.

And while there were tears of joy in finally breaking her lean spell last year, this time there were only big smiles for Pereira after her victory.

"This feels so different," she told reporters after her win. "Mentally coming in, it was super fun and I was really excited to run here again. No tears this time, but perhaps later."

Shanti will next race in the women's 100m on Friday, and will also compete in the 4x100m relay.

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