Even though Shanti Pereira won the gold medal in the 200m final at the Hong Kong Inter-City Athletics Championships yesterday, the Singaporean could not afford to smile after crossing the finish line.
The 19-year-old was disappointed with timing 24.30sec in her pet event. She finished ahead of South Korea's Lee Min Jung (24.52) and Indonesian Emilia Nova (25.50).
Returning from a hamstring strain which had bothered her for the past two months, and lacing up her spikes for training just two weeks ago, Pereira was not expecting to lower her national record of 23.60 immediately.
But the SEA Games 200m champion took it hard upon herself for failing to crack 24 sec for the first time this year. She said: "I'm definitely disappointed because I've been (running) around this timing since the start of the season.
"But I am kind of coming back from injury. I haven't been training like I should be, I couldn't sprint but did more endurance training.
"I didn't have any expectations going into the race, I just wanted to run without feeling any pain."
Her season's best of 24.04 came at the Singapore Open in April. At the Philippine National Open-Invitational Athletics Championships in the same month, she timed 24.19.
Pereira's job at the two-day meet in Hong Kong is not over yet, as she has opted to run in the 400m today instead of the usual 100m.
Her next meet will be the July 4-7 Thailand Open.
Singapore clinched a double in the 200m, when Kugapriya Chandran won the junior race. The 18-year-old shaved 0.05 off her personal best, clocking 24.90 to finish comfortably ahead of Hong Kong's Chan Pui Kei (25.23).
Earlier yesterday morning at the Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground, national high jumper Michelle Sng also made the podium.
Sng cleared 1.73m to win silver, behind Hong Kong's Yeung Man Wai (1.77m). The duo also finished in the same spots at the Taiwan Athletics Open last month.