SEA Games 2023: Shanti Pereira is Singapore's Sprint Queen after 100m, 200m double
She clocks 11.41sec to clinch her first 100m SEA Games gold, and emulates C. Kunalan's 1969 double-win effort
SINGAPORE — Shanti Pereira's ascension to become Singapore's Sprint Queen is complete, after she won the women's 100m SEA Games gold medal at the Morodok Techo National Stadium in Phnom Penh on Friday (12 May).
The 26-year-old clocked 11.41 seconds to clinch her first 100m gold, edging Thailand's Supanich Poolkerd (11.58sec) and Vietnam's Tran Thi Nhi Yen (11.75sec).
Coupled with her record-breaking 200m triumph on Monday, she becomes the first Singaporean female sprinter to do the 100m and 200m golden double at the SEA Games.
C. Kunalan was the first male sprinter to do so, at the 1969 Southeast Asian Peninsular Games. Singapore did win the two races in the 1973 Games, but it was by two different sprinters - Eng Chiew Guay in the 100m, and Glory Barnabas in the 200m.
Fighting back tears, Pereira told reporters after her win, "I want to hug my coach. We made history today. It's a pretty great moment.
"The race execution was not as great as I wanted it to be, I am just glad I didn't panic even though the girls were beside me in the first part of the race. I am stoked."
Bronzes and silvers in previous Games
While Pereira did not have the fastest of starts in her race, she accelerated dramatically about 30m into the race and powered smoothly past her rivals for this extraordinary victory.
It was the final step she had to take to be recognised as one of the greatest sprinters in Singapore history. She had come in third in the 100m sprint in three previous Games editions - 2015, 2017 and 2019 - before improving to a silver showing at last year's Hanoi Games.
In contrast, she had already won the 200m gold thrice, with past wins in 2015 and 2022 to go along with her Monday triumph,
Pereira has been in sensational form of late, as she smashed both the 100m and 200m national records in a single weekend in Brisbane.
This came after she decided to start training full-time in January, upon joining the Sport Excellence (Spex) Scholarship programme, which provides financial and other support for elite athletes.
Marc Brian Louis earns silver in men's 100m
In the men's 100m, Marc Brian Louis earned Singapore their first silver medal in 12 years, after Gary Yeo managed the same feat in Palembang, Indonesia, in 2011.
It was a tight call between Louis and Thailand's Soraoat Dapbang, but eventually the Thai won out in 10.37sec, while Louis was just 0.02sec behind. Malaysia's Muhammad Haiqal Hanafi and Khairul Hafiz Jantan shared the bronze in 10.45sec.
Singapore Athletics officials have lodged a protest due to the close finish.
Maxine Wong wins first individual fencing gold
Singapore won its third fencing gold on Friday, when Maxine Wong finally won her first women's individual foil gold medal after two previous unsuccessful final appearances in 2019 and 2022.
She was scheduled to face the Philippines' Samantha Catantan - the same opponent who defeated her in the final of last year's Hanoi Games.
However, Catantan conceded in the final after injuring her left leg after falling awkwardly during her semi-final win against Singapore's Cheung Kemei.
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