Wind slows Shanti down in 200m semis

Tough race: Shanti Pereira also felt that running next to an empty lane did not help her cause.

SINGAPORE - She was so racked with disappointment that her coach Margaret Oh answered her phone for her initially as she was in tears.

After setting her sights on breaking the women's 200m national record of 24.54 seconds during the semi-finals of the IAAF World Youth Championships, Shanti Pereira ended her race in Donetsk, Ukraine, with a broken heart.

Having equalled Prema Govindan's 29-year-old record on Friday in the heats, the teenage sprint sensation could only clock 24.76sec to finish fifth in her race at the RSC Olimpiyskyi Stadium last night (Singapore time).

Shanti told The New Paper: "I saw my timing on the board and at that moment I was disappointed.

"When I recovered, I told myself, 'It's okay lah'.

"I'm happy with my performances at this competition."

Shanti made the headlines when she became the first Singaporean woman to shatter the 12-second barrier for the 100m sprint, clocking 11.89sec on Wednesday.

While she enjoyed good conditions during her 200m run on Friday, the 16-year-old had to race in much tougher wind conditions (-3.1m/s) last night.

Shanti also felt that running next to an empty lane - Jonel Lacey from the British Virgin Islands failed to start the race - did not help her cause.

She said: "The wind was damn strong and maybe I was tired because, for the past four days, I've been running every day.

"For my semi-final, lane two was empty so maybe if she were there, I would have done better having someone to chase right in front of me."

With the title of Singapore's fastest woman now under her belt, Shanti's quest to break the national record of her pet event continues when she takes part in the Thailand Sports School Games next month.