August 25, 2023
SINGAPORE – Shanti Pereira did not progress from her 200m semi-finals at the World Athletics Championships on Thursday, but the reigning Asian champion will take heart from a week in which she sealed qualification to the Paris Olympics and became the first Singaporean to reach this stage of a world meet.
At the National Athletics Centre in Budapest, she clocked 22.79 seconds to finish sixth in the third semi-final. Reigning 200m world champion Shericka Jackson of Jamaica was fastest in 22.00 sec, followed by American Sha’Carri Richardson (22.20sec), who won the 100m on Monday.
The top two from each of the three semi-finals moved into the final, along with the next two fastest runners.
Gabrielle Thomas of the United States was fastest in 21.97sec while the final qualifier was Anthonique Strachan of the Bahamas in 22.30sec. Pereira was 17th overall among the 24 entrants.
In a year of record-breaking runs, Pereira created more history for herself and the Republic on Wednesday when she advanced from the heats, running 22.57sec to better her previous national mark of 22.69sec.
While she has competed in the 200m at three previous world championships as a wild card, Pereira had booked her spot for the Aug 19-27 world meet in Hungary through her world rankings in both the 100m and 200m. She is the first Singaporean to do so since at least 2011, when national body Singapore Athletics began to track such data.
The 26-year-old will now look to the main event of her year, the Sept 23-Oct 8 Asian Games in Hangzhou. She will head into it as the favourite, having clocked the fastest times in Asia for both distances this season.
In a year when she got faster and faster, the achievements have kept coming for Pereira. In July, she won a historic 100-200m sprint double at the Asian championships in Bangkok, just two months after doing so at the SEA Games in Phnom Penh.
Since March, she has also rewritten her 100m national mark six times and the 200m four times.