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SINGAPORE — She had struggled with injuries and loss of form in recent years, but sprinter Shanti Pereira returned to the top of the SEA Games winners' podium in superb fashion, winning the women's 200m sprint at the My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi on Saturday (14 May).
The 25-year-old, who won the same sprint at the 2015 SEA Games in front of the home crowd at the National Stadium, clocked a personal-best 23.52sec to earn her second Games gold, breaking her own national record of 23.60sec set during her 2015 win.
"I really had to like focus the hell out of the race; there was so much of doubt going into it but I really just tuned out everything and I told myself I will give absolutely everything today," a teary Pereira told reporters after her victory.
"There were so many mental barriers I had to break in order to reach this place."
The Philippines' Kyla Ashley Richardson was second in 23.56sec, while her sister Kayla Anise Richardson took the bronze in 23.87sec.
Since that gold-winning run seven years ago, Pereira had won bronze medals in the 200m in both the 2017 and 2019 SEA Games. She has also won three bronzes in the 100m sprint in the 2015, 2017 and 2019 editions.
However, a serious hamstring injury in 2018 hampered her progress in her sprint career, and many wonder if she would ever return to the heights of her power in 2015.
With her golden comeback triumph in Hanoi, Pereira has proven the doubters wrong at last.