Sprinter Shanti eyeing more records in 2016
Track sprint star is after national records in 2016
She was the biggest name at the meet and was expected to cruise to victory yesterday in the women's 200m.
Singapore sprint queen Veronica Shanti Pereira did just that on the final day of the Institute-Varsity-Poly (IVP) Games at a wet Nanyang Polytechnic, even if her time of 24.68sec was pedestrian by her standards.
Shanti is far from her peak, although her winning time yesterday did equal the IVP record.
The 19-year-old, who rocked the nation when she won the 200m gold at the South-east Asia (SEA) Games on home soil last year with a new national record of 23.60, is just getting her feet wet for 2016.
Speaking to The New Paper after her race yesterday, Shanti said: "All the meets that I'm going for (this year), I'm going to try and lower my personal bests as much as I can.
"Training volume and intensity have increased quite a bit since after the World Championships last year.
"Getting a PB means I have to break the (national) record."
The Republic Polytechnic final-year student was busy yesterday, helping her school to two second-placed finishes in the 4x100m and 4x400m and also winning the 200m.
She does not have a specific time in her mind for a new 200m national mark.
"I don't do it that way," she said. "I don't have any specific timing that I want to hit. I just want to get better."
After her SEA Games win last June, there was talk of an appearance at this year's Olympic Games through a wildcard.
However, Neo Jie Shi's qualification for the marathon means Shanti chances of a ticket to Rio is slim.
Two wildcards - one each for a male and female athlete - are given to countries who have no athletes who qualify on merit for the Olympics.
Since Neo has qualified via her 10th-placed finish at last month's Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore, Shanti has to meet the qualifying standard of 23.20sec to be able to race in Rio in August.
"The biggest event for this year is Rio," she said. "If there was still a wildcard, there will be a higher chance for me to go to the Olympics.
"Now that someone has qualified, I have to beat the timing. It's going to be very hard."
While Shanti might have a mountain to climb, she will continue to train hard and gain international exposure at meets abroad.
She revealed that she will be taking part in "three or four" meets this year, one of which is a competition that will be held in Australia next month.
She ran at the World Championships in Beijing last August and Shanti labelled it as a "very good" experience.
"I knew who I was racing against, so I just went there… To (see) how it feels to run in that kind of stadium, that kind of crowd," she said.
Her goal remains the same - to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
"Since maybe last year, my long-term goal was to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020," she said. "It's a bit too soon to say, but if I continue doing what I'm doing, I should be able to."