Story by Nicole Lum/Red Sports. Photos by Lim Yong Teck and Lee Jian Wei/Red Sports

SEA Games athletics 100m

Shanti Veronica Pereira (right) of Singapore crosses the finish line third to clinch Singapore’s first bronze medal in the women’s 100m event since 1973. (Photo 1 © Lim Yong Teck/Red Sports)

Singapore National Stadium, Tuesday, June 9, 2015 — In the women’s 100m final at the 28th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, Singapore’s Shanti Veronica Pereira bagged the bronze medal as she clocked a time of 11.88 seconds, 0.09s off her personal best (PB) of 11.79s.

This result marks the first SEA Games women’s 100m medal for Singapore in 42 years. Eng Chiew Guay, who clinched the gold in 1973, was the last Singaporean to medal in this event.

“I got fourth place at the last SEA Games so coming here, I really wanted to get a medal. It was really unexpected as there were many other strong competitors with much better timings,” said Shanti on her surprise win.

In this race, Shanti was one of the first few out of the blocks. Holding on until the end, she managed to take the bronze behind Philippines’ Kayla Richardson and Thailand’s Wannakit Tassaporn. Both Richardson and Tassaporn clocked 11.76s, but the former was awarded the gold in a photo finish.

Shanti went on to credit her coach, explaining: “I’m very happy because I don’t really have a start like this. It’s the first time that I actually did a pretty fast start and I owe it all to my coach. The whole time she was just telling me to focus on my start and the race would be mine. And she was right.”

18-year-old Shanti was nearly eliminated in the heats when she finished fourth in 11.82s. Based on standard qualification procedure, only the top three from each of the two heats will be guaranteed a place in the final, with the last two spots granted to the next fastest qualifiers overall from both heats. Fortunately, her timing was fast enough to put her in the final – she was actually the fifth fastest qualifier.

“Before this race, I knew that the timings were really fast in the heats. So I just prayed that I would do my very best by using my competitors to push me,” said Shanti. “I told myself that as long as I do my best, everything else will be a major bonus.”

The sprinter mentioned that she was extremely nervous for her first event of the Games, and went on to say that her win is a “major confidence boost” for her. “I still have three more days of racing, and now, I can’t wait to race,” she added.

Shanti’s compatriot, Wendy Enn achieved a season best of 12.40s in the heats. However, she failed to advance to the final with Shanti as she finished in last place.

The Games record for the women’s 100m stands at 11.28s. It was set in 1987 by Lydia De Vega of the Philippines.

Women’s 100m results
1st Richardson Kayla Anise (Philippines) – 11.76s
2nd Wannakit Tassaporn (Thailand) – 11.76s
3rd Pereira Veronica Shanti (Singapore) – 11.88s
4th Zulkifli Zaidatul Husniah (Malaysia) – 11.93s
5th Griffey Princess Joy (Philippines) – 12.00s
6th Luu Kim Phung (Vietnam) – 12.00s
7th Utami Tri (Indonesia) – 12.01s
8th Nguyen Thi Oanh (Vietnam) – 12.02s

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