Shanti has gold on her mind
Shanti has already started preparing for the defence of her 200m SEA Games crown
She stormed to victory at last year's South-east Asia (SEA) Games on home soil, rocking the National Stadium as she became the first Singaporean to win sprint track gold in the regional athletic joust in 42 years.
Veronica Shanti Pereira's winning time of 23.60 seconds was also a new national record, as she beat the favourite and 100m champion Kayla Richardson of the Philippines.
That was in June and, more than a year later, the 20-year-old can still remember the race as if it happened only yesterday.
Shanti was a guest-speaker at the 2017 OSIM Sundown Marathon press briefing on Friday, and revealed that she has kicked off training in earnest for the 2017 SEA Games.
Coached by Margaret Oh, the countdown began at the end of August.
Speaking to The New Paper, Shanti, who recently started an internship at the Singapore Sports Institute (SSI) under the athletes' services department, said: "The great thing about interning with the SSI is that I'm allowed to fulfil my training hours just like how I would without actually working."
The sprint queen, who will graduate from Republic Polytechnic next May - she was enrolled in a leisure management course - will first have to qualify for next year's SEA Games, which will be held in Kuala Lumpur from Aug 19 to 31.
MAKING THE CUT
She also won a bronze in the women's 100m at last year's SEA Games, and she will have to at least meet the third-placed times from the 2015 event to make the cut in 2017.
Shanti's 100m time last year was 11.88, while the third-placed finisher in the 200m clocked 23.92.
"There are a few meets which I have targeted (to qualify), but those I'm aiming for in particular are the New Zealand Open (March 2017) and the Singapore Open (tentatively set for April 2017).
"They're the two confirmed ones so far, the ones I'm definitely planning for next year."
Shanti expects to make the cut and among the rivals she will go up against in the defence of her 200m crown is Filipino track star Richardson.
"I don't really know how Kayla has been doing this year. I haven't really caught up on it," she said.
"But I heard the Thais are forming a new team and the Malaysians have been doing pretty well, so I'm really looking forward to meeting them and racing them."
The athlete has not been in the news much and admits there has been a drop in her performance over the last season.
But she said: "It's not that I wanted to keep a low profile. I just didn't perform as well.
"I'm much more confident about next year.
"Right now, training has been going very well."
As for the target in the 200m at the SEA Games, she said quite simply: "Go for gold!"
"Go for gold!"
- Veronica Shanti Pereira, on her target for the 2017 SEA Games