SINGAPORE: Shanti Pereira, Singapore’s renowned sprinter, fell short of securing a spot in the women’s 100m semi-finals at the World Athletics Championships (WAC) held in Budapest, Hungary.
Her recorded time on Sunday (20 Aug) was 11.33 seconds.
Leading the pack was Brittany Brown from the United States with a time of 11.01 seconds, followed by Dina Asher-Smith from Britain (11.04 seconds) and Jael Bestue from Spain (11.28 seconds).
Pereira’s performance was just 0.13 seconds shy of her personal best and national record of 11.20 seconds, which she set during the Asian Athletics Championships in Bangkok back in July, where she achieved an unprecedented sprint double.
Reflecting on her race, Pereira expressed contentment to the Singapore media outlet The Straits Times, “Could have been executed a bit better, but really thankful I got a chance to race here with stellar athletes like Dina as I’ve been a fan for the longest time.”
“Overall, it was amazing and I can’t wait for the 200.”
Pereira’s next challenge lies in the 200m heats scheduled for the upcoming Wednesday (23 August) at 6:05 pm SG Time.
The top three finishers from each of the seven heats in Hungary, along with the next three fastest times, will qualify for the semi-finals scheduled for Monday. The final will also take place on the same day.
On Sunday, Singapore Athletic provided an update, noting that Ms Pereira narrowly missed an automatic qualification by a mere 0.05 seconds.
She secured a commendable 31st place out of 56 competitors, showcasing her status as the continent’s fastest woman and outperforming all other Asian participants in the Women’s 100m event.
Notably, Ms Pereira is the first Singaporean athlete in more than a decade to earn her WAC spot solely based on her performance, as opposed to receiving a wild card entry.
According to Luis Cunha, Pereira’s coach, The Straits Times was informed that Pereira had come incredibly close to achieving the target time of 11.28 seconds, which would have been sufficient for her advancement.
Cunha mentioned, “Overall, we are very satisfied with the performance. She continues to be the fastest Asian and this was a good indicator for us for the Asian Games and the upcoming 200m.”
Another advantageous outcome of her participation is her exposure to competing alongside the elite athletes.
“She has been able to train and be among the best girls from the best countries, being around them and having conversations. She would feel she is part of the elite. This is good for the confidence of any athlete.”
However, the Republic’s other representative, Calvin Quek, aged 27, did not advance to the semi-finals in the 400m hurdles during his world championships debut.
He concluded his heat in last place with a timing of 50.53 seconds, just 0.10 seconds off his personal best national record set on 2 August.
The pinnacle of her year remains the Asian Games in Hangzhou from 23 September to 8 October, where she stands as a strong contender for the gold medal after her remarkable achievements in 2023.
From national records to international glory
Pereira’s recent athletic feats have solidified her status as a force to be reckoned with.
Earlier in July, Ms Pereira secured gold in both the 100m and 200m events at the Asian Athletics Championships in Bangkok.
She even rewrote her national 100m record for the sixth time this year, clocking an astonishing 11.20 seconds, and claimed victory in the 200m event while establishing a new meet record of 22.70 seconds.
Notably, Pereira’s exceptional performances have also brought an end to Singapore’s 16-year medal drought at the regional meet.
In May, she became the first Singaporean woman to triumph in both the 100m and 200m events in a single edition of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
Throughout this year, she has broken the national 200m record three times, with her most remarkable effort being 22.69 seconds at the SEA Games in Cambodia, which also stands as a meet record.
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