SINGAPORE — Singapore’s sprint queen Shanti Pereira achieved a historic double gold medal at the Asian Athletics Championships in Thailand, as she dominated the competition with victories in the 100m and 200m races. This remarkable feat follows her recent triumphs at the 2023 SEA Games, where she became the first Singaporean athlete to secure the sprint double title by winning gold in the 100m and 200m events.
At the 2023 Asian Athletics Championships held at the National Stadium in Bangkok, the 100m race took place on Friday, July 14, while the 200m event was held two days later on Sunday. In the 100m race, Pereira achieved a timing of 11.20 seconds, setting a new national record. Iran’s Farzaneh Fasihi won the silver medal with 11.39 seconds, while China’s Ge Manqi secured the third position with 11.40 seconds.
In her second gold medal win at the event on July 16, Pereira set a new championship record with a time of 22.70s. India’s Jyothi Yarraji came in second position (23.13s), while Li Yuting from China took the bronze medal (23.25).
Pereira’s outstanding track performance garnered applause from the nation, including former Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam. He said the country hadn’t witnessed such a remarkable feat since former national athlete Chee Swee Lee’s gold medal win in the 400m at the 1974 Asian Games.
“Her fellow track hero C Kunalan had then called Swee Lee’s feat the greatest moment in Singapore athletics. Fifty years on, Shanti has now given us another outstanding moment in national sports. Winning the 100m in a record time yesterday, and a second gold in the 200m today at the Asian athletics championships,” posted ex-SM Tharman on his Facebook on Sunday.
The presidential hopeful added that Pereira has yet to peak, and she still has peaks to climb in Singapore sports, adding, “Shanti is not a one-off. She just shows what is possible – with guts and persistence, or as she herself puts it: “Just continue growing into it because ultimately it’s your journey. If there’s anyone who can determine how it turns out, it’s you.”
The presidential hopeful added that Pereira has not reached her peak yet and still has many milestones to achieve in Singapore sports. Tharman further emphasized that Shanti’s success is not a one-time occurrence but rather a testament to what is achievable with determination and perseverance. Pereira herself believes in continuously evolving and embracing the journey, as she puts it, “Just continue growing into it because ultimately it’s your journey. If there’s anyone who can determine how it turns out, it’s you.”
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong described Pereira’s win as “irrepressible, amazing, scintillating, and historic.”
“The SEA Games double sprint Champion was all that and more as she made it a Double Double – bagging the gold in both the 100m and 200m at the Asian Athletics Championships in Bangkok,” wrote Minister Tong on social media.
The minister added that not only did Pereira clinch the gold medal, but she also rewrote the 200m record and ‘crossed the line in exhilaration’ with her 22.70 eclipsing the previous record set in 2019.