Singapore athlete Shanti Pereira (or Veronica Shanti Pereira) has made history at the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) 2023, winning gold in the 100 metre sprint after her victory in the 200 metre race. With yesterday’s win in the on-going games in Cambodia, she becomes the first Singaporean woman to win the two fastest races — a rare sprint double — at the biennial SEA Games.
Winning the 100 metre dash in any athletic tournament is every sprinter’s dream. Winning this medal has been a doubly special feat for 26-year-old Shanti Pereira, as she had faced some criticism of her performance in recent years, even though she won the 200m race in the previous SEA Games.
A report by ActiveSG, a Singapore government agency website, said: “[Shanti’s] time of 11.41 seconds was more than sufficient for a convincing win in the women’s 100m dash, coming ahead of Thailand’s Supanich Poolkerd (11.58sec) and Vietnam’s Thi Nhi Yen Tran (11.75sec).” The report informed that “she took the 200m title in a national record time of 22.69sec on Tuesday”.
After her 100m win, the ActiveSG report quoted Shanti as saying that she had brushed aside the criticism and doubts and just ran “free”, and that is what led to the win. She said, “Just believing in myself, being confident… not caring about what other people are doing, or saying. It’s all about you.”
Her parents Clarence and Jeet Pereira told The Straits Times in an interview that even though they had heard the criticism, they said nothing, because they preferred to think: “Let the legs do the talking.” Now those legs have done the talking and silenced the critics.