31st SEA Games Vietnam - Journey to Hanoi: Pressure doesn't bother track star Shanti Pereira

Making her fifth SEA Games appearance, Singapore's sprint queen opts to focus on the things within her control

Singapore sprinter Shanti Pereira will be making her fifth SEA Games appearance in Vietnam, having first debuted at the Myanmar SEA Games in 2013. PHOTO: JOHN YEONG, SPORTPLUS.SG

On 18 December 2013, a starry-eyed 17 year-old Singaporean stepped onto the track of the Wunna Theikdi Stadium in Naypyidaw, Myanmar for the 200m heats of the 27th Southeast Asian Games.

She proceeded to clock a time of 24.12 sec in the heats to eclipse the previous national mark of 24.36 sec that was held by Dipna Lim-Prasad.

It was a result which surprised even her, and while Shanti Pereira did not podium in the finals at the 2013 SEA Games, coming in fourth eventually; it served as a huge confidence booster for the youngster and set the stage for her success at the 2015 Singapore SEA Games.

Watch our full video interview with Shanti Pereira on Studio Plus here.

When asked how she deals with the pressure of delivering a medal for Singapore on the track, Shanti says she prefers to focus on the things that are within her control.

She recalls: "I go into every major games with no expectations, telling myself I am just going to do my very best. In 2013 because it was my first time, I was clueless of what would happen so there wasn't pressure."

"Same for 2015, as I had no idea what was going to be the outcome (winning the 200m sprint), so there wasn't pressure."

Shanti Pereira stretches before a training session. PHOTO: JOHN YEONG, SPORTPLUS.SG

Things changed for her drastically ever since she won the gold medal for Singapore in the 200m event at the 2015 SEA Games, with expectations changing overnight.

"Of course there was pressure going into 2017 and 2019, and the same for this time too. There is a lot of pressure but I am just trying to focus on the things that I can control," she shared.

She added, "I have been to many major games all these years, so I guess you can say I am already mentally prepared for this."

Shanti Pereira is the current national record holder for the women's 200m sprint. PHOTO: JOHN YEONG, SPORTPLUS.SG

While she could not defend her gold medal at the 2017 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, Shanti still managed to podium by clinching the bronze medal, and repeated her feat at the 2019 SEA Games in Clark, Philippines, adding a 100m bronze medal as well to boot.

She also made her Olympic bow last year in Tokyo, something she claims was a life-long dream come true.

"I missed out on the 2016 one, so I didn't really believe it that I was going to Tokyo. I couldn't believe it until I was on the plane that's when I told my coach 'Oh wow I'm going to the Olympics.'"

Singapore track star Shanti Pereira says she prefers to focus on the things within her control instead of the pressure that comes with every major games. PHOTO: JOHN YEONG, SPORTPLUS.SG

Shanti will be the sole representative for the women's sprint team at the 31st SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam this month.

The 31st Southeast Asian Games will be taking place from 12 - 23 May 2022 in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Shanti Pereira setting up mini hurdles for her drills at training. PHOTO: JOHN YEONG, SPORTPLUS.SG

SportPlus.sg is pleased to join hands with TikTok, the world's fastest growing social media platform, to shine the spotlight on the journeys of 10 of Singapore's SEA Games athletes in this 8-part series, and assist athletes with TikTok content creation to amplify their online presence for the Games.

Special thanks to Team Singapore, Singapore Athletics, Singapore Badminton Association, Basketball Association of Singapore, Football Association of Singapore, Singapore Silat Federation, Singapore Swimming, Volleyball Association of Singapore, Singapore Underwater Federation, ActiveSG Sport Centres and Chinese Swimming Club for supporting this series.

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