Shanti Pereira’s parents ‘so proud’ after daughter’s Asian Games win
HANGZHOU – It took a moment for Clarence Pereira to realise that his daughter Shanti had claimed the 200m gold at the Asian Games on Monday.
With the finish line far from where they were seated at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Stadium, Clarence, whose “eyesight is not too good”, was unable to see the end of the race clearly. He knew Shanti had won only after his wife Jeet told him.
Clarence, 66, said with a smile: “I’m so proud, so proud to see that. I just got emotional. I couldn’t even see the finish.”
Jeet, 63, added: “I have mixed feelings. Waiting for the event to take place was really nerve-racking... She did well for all of us, we’re really proud of her it’s been a really hard-working process for her.”
Her parents have been a strong pillar of support for Shanti over the years and have tried to make it for as many of her races as possible.
Clarence, an oil consultant, and Jeet, a childcare educator, were there at the Cambodia SEA Games in May to witness Shanti make history with a 100m-200m sprint double.
They were there again to see her win historic golds at July’s Asian Athletics Championships in Bangkok and in Hangzhou this week as she ended Singapore’s 49-year wait for a medal in athletics at the Asiad.
Her boyfriend Tan Zong Yang, a former national sprinter, and her aunt have also been a constant presence at her events.
Tan, who is a lawyer, has used up all his annual leave this year to watch Pereira’s race at overseas meets.
The 29-year-old, who was also in the stands on Monday, said: “Everyone knows she’s been through quite a bit... There are really no words. I’ve seen her through these years, the sacrifices she’s made and her parents and with coach Luis (Cunha), everyone should just celebrate this.”
Jeet has observed a change in her daughter’s mindset over the past few years, noting that her confidence has grown.
Before the Asian Games, she had asked Shanti if she was ready and how she felt because of the expectations that were upon her, but the sprinter answered confidently that she was.
Jeet said: “I was so nervous for her because the public has so much expectations. I do worry but I can see she has matured so I’m so proud of her to have reached this level.”
During the victory ceremony, her parents stood proudly in the stands, with Jeet holding up a scarf with the word “Singapore” on it.
They then went to wait for Shanti, who was doing her anti-doping tests, at the athletes’ area of the stadium.
When Shanti emerged, she received congratulatory messages from Team Singapore delegates, before making her way over to her family members and boyfriend, giving them a hug.
This time, Clarence knew exactly where Shanti was.