Team Singapore's Veronica Shanti celebrates coming in third (Photo Credit: Singapore SEA Games Organising Committee / Action Images via Reuters)
Shanti Pereira only qualified for the SEA Games 100 metres event in April but the Singaporean sprinter certainly took full advantage of her chance by winning a bronze medal in Tuesday’s sprint finals in a time of 11.88s at the National Stadium. Her feat has also ended Singapore’s 42-year wait for a medal in the event.
The 18-year-old Pereira earned her shot at a medal when she set a new national record of 11.80s in the national championships three months ago. She had sprung to national attention in 2013 when she became the first Singaporean woman to sprint the 100 metres in under 12 seconds with an impressive run at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Donetsk, Ukraine.
Up against a tough field, Pereira was not the fastest out of the blocks but she produced a blistering finale, pipping Zaidatul Zulkifli of Malaysia for the bronze medal spot and leaving highly-fancied, U.S based, Filipinosprinter Princess Joy Griffey. The race was won by Philippines' Kayla Richardson with a 11.76s finish while Thailand's Tassaporn Wannakit, clinched a silver with 11.76s.
Team Singapore's Veronica Pereira (R) in action (Photo Credit: Singapore SEA Games Organising Committee / Action Images via Reuters)
“I’m very, very happy. This is a huge confidence boost,” said Pereira. “It was a tough race with a lot of powerhouses in the field.”
She has also attributed her win today to the home crowd support that has cheered her on during the race and is looking forward to her three other events in the 200m, 4x100m and 4x400m relays.
In the men’s 100 metres finals, Singapore's Calvin Kang ran a personal-best time of 10.47s, placing him fourth and ahead of Thailand's defending champion Jirapong Meenapra.
Filipino sprinter Eric Shauwn Cray won with 10.25s with Indonesia's Yaspi Boby claiming he silver with 10.45s, while teammate Iswandi Iswandi also finished with 10.45s, but took the bronze.
“I don’t know about the result but I was happy with how, technically, I ran the race,” said Kang.
“It is tough to lose out by 0.02s but I gave it my best”.