Commonwealth Games: Pereira breaks 2nd national record in 3 days, attributes resurgence to mindset change

National sprinter Shanti Pereira clocked 23.46 seconds during the heats in Birmingham on Aug 4, 2022. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

BIRMINGHAM - The last time national sprinter Shanti Pereira broke two national records at the same meet was at the 2015 SEA Games, where she won a historic 200m gold on home soil.

After a tough seven years, the 25-year-old set two national records at the same competition again, this time at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

She clocked 23.46 seconds to lower her 200m national mark by 0.06sec during the heats at the Alexander Stadium on Thursday (Aug 4), placing her 10th out of 36 and earning her a semi-final spot on Friday.

On Tuesday, she also set a national 100m record of 11.48sec in the heats, where she finished 10th out of 36 runners, before exiting at the semi-final stage after a 11.57.

Pereira, who won a gold and silver at this year’s SEA Games, has experienced a resurgence this year, which she attributed to a change in mindset.

She said: “I’ve just been very hard on myself the past many years so just accepting that I’m on this path and I’m just really doing this for myself and my country and the people who matter in my life and ultimately just accepting that this is my own journey.

“If there’s anything for someone to say, it should be me and not anybody else and that change in mindset is what really helped me perform.” 

In the past, she would often fixate on the things that went wrong, even if there were positives to take away too.

Then, there was also pressure and expectations from other people.

She said: “I took a while to accept that every athlete’s journey comes with expectations and pressure.

"At that time, I wasn’t really mentally prepared for that so I always felt like I had to deliver and when I didn’t, it was like, ‘Oh my god, end of the world’. 

“People may say whatever they want but it’s my journey. Especially this year, I learnt to accept that pressure was just a part of what I do.”

A month before May’s SEA Games, Pereira talked to her coach Luis Cunha in a bid to try and change the way she viewed her running because she did not want to keep feeling this way.

“I would really just dwell on every bad training session and looking at the horrible parts instead of the good parts and that just continued and led on for many years,” said Pereira, who acknowledged that Cunha, along with her family and friends played a crucial role in helping her change her mindset.

“I was always very afraid to compete just because I was scared to fail... so I really wanted to get rid of that.”

While it is still something that she is working on, Pereira is pleased with the progress she has made.

In the past, she would already go into races feeling defeated if the weather conditions were not ideal.

Although the windy weather conditions at the Alexander Stadium were not favourable on Thursday, Pereira said: “It’s not that I’m perfect now – I’m still scared to run every race.

“But I just take it a different way, like really just focusing on the things we can control going into every race.”

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