Sprint queen Shanti returns from Germany leaner and meaner
National sprint queen Pereira returns from Germany stint ready for New Zealand races next month
Right after her training session at the Bishan Stadium track on Wednesday evening, national sprint queen Veronica Shanti Pereira was greeted by one of the stadium's regular joggers.
"Welcome back! Wah, muscle big ah... Solid," said the middle-aged woman excitedly, while she prodded Pereira's toned triceps.
Pereira, 20, returned on Tuesday from a month-long training stint in Munich with the Bavarian state sprint team, under coach Volker Herrmann.
Evidently, the experience has helped her develop her game, including physically.
Said their coach Margaret Oh: "Shanti has bulked up quite a bit and, hopefully, that means more power and better times.
"Even when she went to Germany the last time (three weeks in Leverkusen in 2012), she returned looking like she put on more muscle."
CHANGE IN RUNNING STYLE
Pereira, though, said with a sheepish smile: "I haven't really noticed it... Maybe it's because when I was there, I was always covered up in training."
She pointed out, however, that her leaner, meaner physique is not the only thing different.
The national record holder in the women's 100m (11.80sec) and 200m (23.60sec) feels that with Herrmann's help, she has been able to tweak her running style, as well.
"Heading into (the trip), I wanted to change some things with my technique, so that's what I mainly did over there," explained Pereira.
"They do certain things in a different way... And to be honest, in the first week my body ached quite badly.
"But, in the second week, I could do things without any pain. I got used to it.
"In the final week, coach said my technique, acceleration, strength and endurance got better, so that's nice to know."
Herrmann, 32, is the frontrunner in Singapore Athletics' search for a new technical director.
He is understood to be flying to Singapore next week to meet officials from national sports governing body Sport Singapore.
The German, who is accredited as an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) lecturer in sprint and jump events, was in Singapore two months ago to conduct clinics and worked with Pereira and other national athletes.
His appointment may be just the boost Pereira needs ahead of next August's South-east Asian (SEA) Games in Kuala Lumpur.
GUNNING FOR GLORY
She will be defending her 200m title and gunning for another medal in the 100m, where she won bronze on home soil last year.
But, first, she needs to qualify for the biennial meet and she has a chance to do it in New Zealand, where she is slated to run three races from Jan 8 to 21.
Her coach, Oh, said: "I hope she can clock the times to qualify for the SEA Games there, so we can make the necessary adjustments to training to plan for her to peak in KL."
Pereira has not had much to shout about in 2016. With no major meets to compete in, she clocked a season-best 11.84sec in the 100m and 24.04sec in the 200m - her pet event.
But Oh, a former national sprinter, backs her charge to flourish at the 2017 SEA Games.
"Athletes will be athletes, and sometimes, without any major meets, they don't feel challenged," she said.
"But with the SEA Games on the horizon, the hunger will be back."