How a knee injury almost derailed Shanti Pereira’s season
A niggling pain in her right knee threatened to derail Shanti Pereira’s route to a stellar 2023, a year that saw the Singapore sprint queen stamp her mark in Asia and Europe.
The 27-year-old competed in 47 individual races in 2023 – her most in a season – but the pain meant that she could not even train at times, her coach Luis Cunha told The Straits Times in a recent interview.
A meeting with Dr Nikos Apostolopoulos, 62, founder and developer of microStretching – a technique of low intensity gentle stretching – followed by 10 stretching sessions ahead of the World Championships in Budapest last August, helped resolve Pereira’s issue.
Cunha said: “The pain was a consequence of something else that we were able to identify early in January, but we never were able to find the solution to fix the root. The root was an imbalance on the right hip which leads to an imbalance on her stride.
“What I can tell you is that she was in pain, and then the pain disappeared (after seeing Dr Apostolopoulos).”
Pereira went on to break her national 200m record with a 22.57sec effort as she became the first Singaporean to reach the semi-finals of the world athletics meet, earning a Paris Olympic spot in the process.
Then came the October finale in Hangzhou, where she ended Singapore’s 49-year wait for an Asian Games track and field gold by claiming the women’s 200m crown.
Dr Apostolopoulos was in Singapore to work with local athletes and conducted workshops on Jan 5 and 6 to demonstrate his techniques to the local athletics community.
Pereira said: “Recovery is a really important aspect of the training and competition process – more so when preparing for a major race, so I was really glad I got Nikos’ support through recommendation by Loren Seagrave before my races in Budapest, and now during the loading phase of my training cycle.”
Dr Apostolopoulos’ work is based on a recovery-regeneration technique that is focused on calming down the nervous system to promote relaxation.
It has been used to treat many professional athletes in the National Football League, National Hockey League and the National Basketball Association (NBA), as well as in the English Premier League.