SINGAPORE: Like many Singaporeans, food guru KF Seetoh congratulated runner Shanti Pereira on her epic wins at the Asian Games but took things one step further, telling officials to support all the country’s athletes, not just the ones who bring home medals.

He also discouraged officials from taking selfies with Ms Pereira and “claim the credit after her win,” pointing out that founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew had never done so in his time. The credit should fall on her and her coach’s shoulders, added the Makansutra founder. “… please, don’t do your selfies with her and glow in her limelight and claim credit..after her win. It’s all her and her coach Luis Cunha. LKY never took pictures with Chee Swee Lee,” he wrote.

“Nobody loves a loser. But if you are a somebody, you will support Shanti because you champion her aspiration and determination, even if she brings no medal home,” wrote Mr Seetoh in a Tuesday (Oct 3) Facebook post.

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Instead of taking and posting selfies with Ms Pereira, Mr Seetoh suggested that officials “Go do so with the other upcoming athletes. It encourages the nation and that’s the true spirit of support for sports or any culture you believe in. Be the wind beneath their wings, not the pressure on their backs.”

He added that everyone wants Singapore’s swimmers, surfers, ping pong players, fencers, and other athletes to bring home “another Olympic gold” but “what’s meaningful and energising to the athletes is knowing we all got their backs, support, and belief in them now just because they did their best, not because they won.”

This would both empower and encourage the athletes, he wrote.

He ended his post with a personal message for the runner: “Congrats again Shanti… I never doubted your aspirations. Keep Calm and Stride On.”

The athlete cemented her already solid place in history, winning the women’s 200m final at the Asian Games at Hangzhou on Monday (Oct 2) after bagging the silver in the 100m a mere 48 hours before. The country rejoiced, celebrating Singapore’s first gold medal in athletics in almost half a century when Chee Swee Lee won the women’s 400m in 1974.

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It’s been a stellar year for Ms Pereira. At the SEA Games in May, she clocked a time of 11.41 seconds in the 100m event and set a new game and national record in the 200m race with 22.69 seconds.

In mid-July, she claimed back-to-back wins at the Asian Athletics Championships in Bangkok in the 100 and 200-meter races, breaking the national record for the 100-meter with a time of 11.20 seconds. /TISG

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