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Irrepressible: Shanti Pereira in historic 100m, 200m golden double at Asian meet

Singapore sprinter smashes meet record at Asian Athletics Championships, repeats her feat at the SEA Games in May

Singapore sprinter Shanti Pereira winning women's 200m final at the 2023 SEA Games in Cambodia.
Singapore sprinter Shanti Pereira winning women's 200m final at the 2023 SEA Games in Cambodia. (PHOTO: AP/Tatan Syuflana)

SINGAPORE — Shanti Pereira has emphatically announced herself as the sprinter to beat at the upcoming Asian Games, after completing the women's 100m and 200m double gold-medal feat at the Asian Athletics Championships in Bangkok on Sunday (16 July).

Two months after doing the same golden double at the SEA Games in Cambodia, the irrepressible Singapore sprinter started in the outer lane for her pet race at the Suphachalasai National Stadium - and still won the 200m gold to add to her 100m triumph on Friday.

The 26-year-old clocked 22.70 seconds, just short of her national-record 22.69sec effort at the SEA Games final, as she took the lead in the final 90 metres and clinched the gold ahead of India's Jyothi Yarraji (23.13sec) and China's Li Yuting (23.25sec).

Nevertheless, she managed to smash the championship record of 22.74sec, set by Bahrain's Salwa Eid Naser in Doha in 2019.

Pereira becomes the first Singaporean to complete the 100m and 200m sprint double at the Asian Athletics Championships, two days after ending the city-state's 16-year medal drought at the competition.

Her phenomenal year has put her firmly as one of the favourites to win the 100m and 200m golds at the Asian Games, which will be held in Hangzhou from 23 September to 8 October. Her winning times at the Asian Athletics Championships (11.20sec in the 100m and 22.70sec in the 200m) would have won her the gold medals at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta.

Year of exceptional feats

Pereira's exceptional year began in March, when she began breaking the national 100m record at the New Zealand Track and Field Championships. She has since lowered the mark six times, from 11.48sec to 11.20sec.

She then smashed both the 100m and 200m national records in a single weekend in Brisbane, before heading to the SEA Games in Cambodia and winning both the 100m and 200m golds, breaking the national and SEA Games record in her 200m triumph.

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.

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