Donetsk, Ukraine, Wednesday, July 10, 2013 – Shanti Veronica Pereira became the first Singaporean female to run the 100 metres in less than 12 seconds when she clocked a time of 11.89s in the heats at the 8th IAAF World Youth Championships.
Running in the eighth lane of the eighth and final heat, the 16-year-old finished second and qualified for today’s semi-finals, despite having the third-slowest reaction time and also running into a headwind of 1.0 metres per second.
Shanti’s time broke Amanda Choo’s national mark of 12.01 seconds that had stood since October 2010. Amanda was achingly close to sub-12 seconds territory, having run 12.03s twice and 12.04s once to add to her now-broken national record.
Shanti’s previous personal best was 12.05s, registered at March’s Singapore Youth and Junior Championships, and then equaled at last month’s Southeast Asia (SEA) Youth meet. It was also the national under-23, junior and youth records.
In addition, Shanti’s new time broke the national under-19 record of 12.0s (hand-timed) set by Prema Govindan nearly 20 years ago.
All new records are pending ratification by the Singapore Athletic Association.
Shanti, who turns 17 in September, is tied for 11th fastest in the field of 59 runners at the World Youth Championships. USA’s Ariana Washington topped the opening round with her 11.52s (-1.9 m/s). The semi-finals will take place tonight at 10.50 p.m., Singapore time. Shanti will race in the second semi-final from lane 4. She is also slated to compete in the 200m heats tomorrow.
Shanti, who is currently studying at Republic Polytechnic, is the youngest holder of a national women’s record in a track event since Faudziah Mohd Ali set the 400m hurdles record in September 1977 when she was only 15 years and 4 months old.
It is the second national women’s mark to be broken in a space of two and half weeks. On June 23, Shanti’s national 4x100m and 4x400m relay teammate Dipna Lim Prasad set a new 400m hurdles record of 60.58 seconds.
Shanti’s penchant for success at the big stage is telling. She won the 100m-200m double at last month’s SEA Youth championships, and was the bronze medallist in the 200m at last year’s Asian Junior Championships. She then finished second in the same event at the ASEAN Schools Games three weeks later.
The former Singapore Sports School student was also third in the 100m at the 2011 ASEAN Schools Games, and garnered a silver medal in the century sprint at the 2010 International Children’s Games.
Having broken the national record in the 100m, Shanti must surely be yearning to do likewise in the 200m. Her personal best of 24.60s is just six hundredths of a second off the 19-year-old national mark of 24.54s.
Shanti lowered her 100m personal best by 0.16 seconds en route to her new national mark of 11.89s, and has another 0.16s to knock off in order to reach the bronze medal-winning mark from the previous SEA Games in 2011.
With a favourable tailwind and the psychological burden of the 12-second barrier lifted from her young shoulders, Shanti might just set the track alight once again.
Women’s national 100m record progression
12.23s – Prema Govindan; 15th SEA Games; 22 August 1989
12.21s – Amanda Choo; 69th Singapore Open; 8 September 2007
12.12s – Amanda Choo; 24th SEA Games; 7 December 2007
12.03s – Amanda Choo; Negeri Sembilan Open; 10 April 2010
12.01s – Amanda Choo; Thailand Open; 2 October 2010
11.89s – Shanti Pereira; 8th World Youth Championships; 10 July 2013
Shanti Pereira’s 100m personal best progression
12.43s – National Inter-School Championships; 27 April 2011
12.39s – International Little Athletics Championships; 9 July 2011
12.37s – SAA Series 1; 14 January 2012
12.24s – SAA Series 5; 19 May 2012
12.24s – Asian Junior Championships; 9 June 2012
12.21s – Asian Junior Championships; 9 June 2012
12.16s – SAA Series 1; 5 January 2013
12.05s – National Junior Championships; 2 March 2013
12.05s – SEA Youth Championships; 7 June 2013
11.89s – World Youth Championships; 10 July 2013