Wonder moman: At the 2015 Southeast Asian Games, Shanti won Singapore's first medal in the 100m race... in 42 years! | Photo: Instagram/@v_shantipereira
Veronica Shanti Pereira is simply put, a phenom in her sport. Dubbed the "fastest woman in Singapore" by journalists and peers, the 24-year-old sprinter is a trailblazer for aspiring athletes everywhere thanks to her exploits on the track.
She became a national record holder as the first female Singaporean to run the 100m in under 12 seconds, and has represented our country at numerous SEA Games.
While Shanti is certainly deserving of praise for her excellent achievements, she also credits her family for their support and influence in taking up track and field.
Character Bio: Shanti was first introduced to athletics thanks to her sister Valerie, who is also a former national sprinter.
She started competing in Primary 3 at the National Inter-School level against girls of an older age group, and even managed to beat them. Seems like sprinting does, ahem, run in the Pereira family genes.
Achievement Unlocked: Shanti first hit national headlines in 2013 when she clocked 11.89s in the 100m race at the World Youth Championships in Athletics.
She then went on to smash the 200m record before reaching the pinnacle of her career: a historic gold medal win at the 28th Southeast Asian Games held in Singapore in 2015.
Not only did it end a 42-year gold medal drought for the country in athletics, the victory catapulted Shanti into wider recognition as a role model to many young athletes in the sport.
Level Up: In 2020, Shanti added a new feather to her cap by becoming an author of children's books. She teamed up with her sisters, Shobi and Valerie to release a book that immortalised her sporting journey and that historic moment.
"The 2015 SEA Games will always have a special place in my heart," Shanti writes in an Instagram post about the book release. "Running on home ground and having my family and fellow Singaporeans in the stands cheering me on is a feeling I cannot describe until this day."
She hopes her story inspires kids to never ever give up on their dreams, whatever those dreams may be.
Up next... Shanti has her sights set on the 2021 SEA Games in Vietnam. And, to echo the title of her children's book, we'd like to shout: "Go, Shanti, go!"