SEA Games: Shanti ups the ante

SEA Games: Shanti ups the ante
Photos of Singapore sprinter Shanti Pereira in the SAA Track and Field Series.

She crossed the finish line at the Kallang Practice Track in first place, but Shanti Pereira showed hardly any joy.

No one was surprised she won the 200m event at the Singapore Athletic Association (SAA) Track and Field Series 1 last Saturday, but her time of 24.97sec would have raised many eyebrows.

It was almost a second slower than her national record of 23.99, set at the Asian Junior Championships in Taiwan last June - but even with less than five months before this year's South-east Asia (SEA) Games on home soil, Singapore's big hope in women's sprinting is not about to panic.

Speaking to The New Paper after her race, Shanti revealed that her timings over the past month - in training and competition - have been slow.

"It has been 12-something in the 100m, and 24-something in the 200m," the 18-year-old said, with a wry smile.

LONG SEASON

"Last season was a long one for me. I had many competitions between June and October. It's like I peaked and then slowly went down.

"But my coach told me not to worry and I agree with her. I will get better in the next few races; I'm confident I'll hit my mark."

Singapore will host the SEA Games for the first time since 1993 and, with the new National Stadium set to be the centrepiece of the region's most prestigious multi-sport event, the buzz is slowly building, especially for the most glamorous races - the sprints.

The men believe they can challenge for medals in the blue-riband 100m, and Shanti carries the hopes for the women.

She finished fourth in the 100m and 200m in 2013 in Myanmar, which was her maiden Games, and the national record holder in the 100m (11.89, set in 2013), is widely expected to get on the podium in June.

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