Covid-19 is the hardest test yet for elite athletes, but Singapore's sprint queen says nothing will change her approach towards competitions
Covid-19 has severely affected the preparations of elite athletes from around the world as they prepare for Major Games this year.
We caught up recently with Singapore's sprint queen Veronica Shanti Pereira to ask her how her preparations for the 2021 SEA Games are going.
The past year has been a nightmare for everyone. For athletes you do not know when exactly competitions are resuming, what event you are training for - what is one glimmer of hope for you?
Shanti: I went an entire year without competition, and as cliche as it sounds, the one thing I really held onto is that - it's going to be as okay.
It's going to be okay, things will eventually go back to normal, and even if they don't, you will somehow find a way to make it work. An athlete's life is basically summed up this way. As you basically roll with the punches every year. You don't know what surprises may come.
This (Covid-19) was an even harder test to show that this is part of our journey. But it's going to be fine, I'm still going to do what I do because I love what I do. I'm going to work just as hard to reach the same goals, and whatever may come will come.
You've won many medals over the years - taken part in competitions locally and internationally, but it's not just about the success that people see. What are the things that motivate you on this road to success?
Shanti: It's all about the little things I do during training, working on my technique etc. If i run 0.2 seconds faster in a speed endurance run for example, they all still contribute towards the end goal.
If I'm doing a block session, and my coach is video taping me, and my technique is super good that day, then I will be like 'okay, I'm good, I'm improving towards the bigger goal. These small goals motivate me even more and prove to me that I'm on the right track.'
What are some of the challenges you've had as an athlete over the years, and how have you persevered through them?
Shanti: Two major challenges: being a student athlete, I think that's really hard - probably even harder when transitioning into working and training at the same time.
You're pretty much tired all the time, and you need to find the energy to come here and give your 100 percent in every training session.
Second is definitely injury. On top of everything else you have to face in school and in training to come face to face with an injury which you have completely no control over. It's very hard to bear, and it takes a very long time to come to terms with it, and to eventually come back and train harder and come back stronger.
It's one of the risks of being an athlete I suppose?
Shanti: Yes, a lot of emphasis is placed on recovery, and you learn to know your body. You know what you can do on a particular day. And if on some days you are just not feeling it, you know not to push yourself further.