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SEA Games 2023: Shanti Pereira wins first 100m gold; 1st S’porean woman to get sprint double

PHNOM PENH – In 11.41 seconds on Friday, history was made in Singapore sport as sprint queen Shanti Pereira claimed gold in the 100m to become the first local woman to complete the sprint double at the SEA Games.

The 26-year-old powered past her rivals in the blue riband event to claim top spot, with Thailand’s Supanich Poolkerd (11.58) and Thi Nhi Yen Tran of Vietnam (11.75) finishing second and third respectively. With the victory at the Morodok Techo National Stadium, the region’s fastest woman now has four gold medals at the biennial event.

This is her first win in the 100m at the SEA Games after finishing third in 2015, 2017 and 2019 before winning a silver at the 2022 edition in in Hanoi.

On Monday, Pereira won the women’s 200m final to capture her third SEA Games title in the event.

In doing so, she also obliterated Kristina Knott’s Games record of 23.01sec and bettered her previous national mark of 22.89. On the same day, her closest challenger – defending champion Kayla Richardson of the Philippines – pulled up halfway through Heat 1 and did not finish the race.

She did not contest the 100m event on Friday.

Pereira has been in the form of her career this season and had a record-breaking 2023 since she started full-time training in January.

South-east Asia’s sprint queen will now shift her focus to the July 12-16 Asian Athletics Championships in Thailand and the Hangzhou Asian Games from Sept 23 to Oct 8.

In the men’s 100m final, Marc Louis won Singapore’s first silver medal in over a decade – Gary Yeo was second in the event at the 2011 Games.

Louis’ time of 10.39 was just 0.02 seconds behind Soraoat Dapbang of Thailand, who came from behind to claim top spot.

A protest has been lodged by Singapore Athletics officials due to the close finish.

Malaysia’s Muhammad Haiqal Hanafi and Khairul Hafiz Jantan shared the bronze with their time of 10.45sec.

Louis’ time was also 0.02sec short of matching U.K. Shyam’s national record of 10.37 from the 2001 Malaysia Games.

Louis, 20, won a 100m bronze on his Games debut at the 2022 Hanoi Games.

The Republic has not won gold in the event since C. Kunalan’s win at the 1969 Games.