Shanti misses out on gold by just 0.02sec
Her performance in century sprint bodes well for today's pet event
Almost a year ago, in front of a strong crowd, sprinter Shanti Pereira nearly brought the National Stadium roof down when she clocked 23.60 seconds to win the SEA Games women's 200m gold.
It was the first time since 1973 that a female Singaporean won a sprint event in the region's biggest sports event.
Shanti also finished third in the women's 100m.
Yesterday, the 19-year-old returned to the scene of her biggest triumph, and almost snatched another victory.
This time, the stands were mostly empty, but it didn't stop her from clocking a season-best 11.84 to finish second behind Malaysia's Komalam Shally Selvaratnam (11.82) in the 78th Singapore Open Track and Field Championships.
Malaysia's Siti Fatimah took the bronze in 11.90.
A chirpy Shanti said after her race: "I was so excited to be back (at the National Stadium); when I came in today, I was like, 'Yay!'.
"I've had good memories of this place... I'm excited about tomorrow; it's exciting to see all the flags (laid out on the stands), even though they are not for me!"
The Singapore Sport School graduate was referring to the banners that various students had put up ahead of the final day of the National Schools Track and Field Championships, which will be held at the National Stadium for the first time today.
The Finals will coincide with the second day of the Singapore Open, where Shanti will compete in the women's 200m.
The Singapore darling's pace in yesterday's race will give her much confidence.
Her time was just shy of her personal best and national record of 11.80, although she clocked 11.79 at the Singapore Athletics Track and Field Series 2 in February, in a 5.7m/s tailwind.
Yesterday, she clocked 12.05 in the heats and 11.92 in the semi-finals.
"I am quite happy today. I was able to go quite relaxed in the heats, went a bit harder in the semis and gave my all in the final.
"Considering that I had three races today, I am quite satisfied with my timing."
After her display in the 100m, Shanti could be on the verge of breaking her own national record in her pet event today. She set the mark of 23.60 en route to 200m gold at last year's SEA Games and, even this early in the season, she stands a chance of lowering the record.
National athletes Michelle Sng, Ang Chen Xiang and Dipna Lim-Prasad also made the podium yesterday.
High jumper Sng recorded 1.70m to finish third among four competitors, behind Indonesia's gold-medallist Nadia Anggraini (1.79m) and Malaysia's Yee Yap Sean (1.76m) in third.
Ang clocked 14.50 to take the bronze in the men's 110m hurdles, behind China's Zeng Jianhang (14.04) and Indonesian Rio Maholtra (14.23).
Lim-Prasad, who was out with a leg injury earlier this year, clocked 56.33sec in the women's 400m to claim silver.
Malaysia's Nurul Faizal Asma Mazlan won the race in 55.18, while Indonesia's Sulastri Sulastri took the bronze in 56.59.