She was glad just to make her maiden race at the new National Stadium, but what followed was beyond Shanti Pereira's wildest dreams at the Singapore Open Track and Field Championships yesterday.
First, the 18-year-old sprinter broke the women's 100m national record with a time of 11.80sec, slashing a massive 0.09sec off her own mark set back in 2013.
Two hours later, despite feeling tiredness in her calves, she helped rewrite another national mark.
She teamed up with Wendy Enn, Eugenia Tan and Smriti Menon as the women's 4x100m relay quartet clocked 46.64sec, smashing the previous national mark of 46.68 set at the 2007 SEA Games.
"Right place, right time," said a beaming Shanti. "We were tired, but we kept positive and all we wanted do was to make a statement."
This was the relay team's first competitive event together, after Smriti joined the trio this year.
While it was good enough to earn them a silver medal at the Open, their national mark is still some way off from the bronze-medal mark of 45.88 set by Indonesia at the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar.
Still, they are confident they can improve on their timing before June's Singapore SEA Games.
"Our focus now is on getting to know each other's habits better to have a smoother transition," said Eugenia.
Shanti's 100m national record timing, on the other hand, would have met the SEA Games qualification time of 11.91, and an equivalent timing would have earned her a silver at the last SEA Games.
She finished second to Indonesia's Tri Setyo Utami (11.76) yesterday, and was shaking her head in disbelief at her timing.
"It's been a while since I've gone under the 12sec barrier," the Republic Polytechnic student said.
"There are two months to go and now I'm aiming to keep at my top form. I hope to improve on my timing in the 100m but I'm also targeting a medal in the 200m."
Shanti's record-breaking feats lit up the day one of the Open, which saw three national records and one Open record broken - compared to only one national record smashed in each of the last two Opens.
In the men's 110m hurdles, Ang Chen Xiang broke the national record when he timed 14.44 in finishing third behind Malaysia's Mat Hassan Ajmal (14.29) and Philippines' Patrick Unso (14.37).
He eclipsed Abdul Hakeem Abdul Halim's previous mark by a mere 0.01, set three years ago.
Indonesia's Maria Natalia Londa also set a new Singapore Open record in the women's long jump with a distance of 6.50m.
The Open, which saw Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Mr Lawrence Wong as guest of honour, resumes today.
This article was first published on Apr 5, 2015.
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