Shanti Pereira: How Singapore’s finest sprinter found her speed

5 days ago 26

As the Asian Games approach, The Straits Times examines how Shanti Pereira – and her coach Luis Cunha – found ways to make her faster.

Shanti Pereira lives her life to the sound of a gun. It goes off and so does she. In her world, time is precious, for her life is measured in tiny slices of a second. Every millisecond matters and every fraction shaved off her timing is a triumph.

Like many athletes, Pereira’s form stagnated. Improvement eluded her from June 2015 until May 2022. Then, she transformed.

It has been a staggering transformation and the primary factor has been Pereira’s steadfastness and her energising partnership with her new coach Luis Cunha. Steadily, they have gone faster.

Scroll on to see and hear how she has improved, in her own words.

Head below waist


Straight line from head to toe

45° shin angle

Knee ahead of ankle

Posture is key during the start. To propel her body forward, Pereira’s head has to be below the waist.

A good start involves complex mechanics, but Cunha preaches a few things to Pereira.

The first thing the coach wants is for her to drive her knees at the start.

He also wants her torso to be leaning forward in a straight line from the head to the toe. The angle of the shin should be at 45 degrees. The shoulders should be on top of the knees.

Ideally, the knee should be positioned in front of the ankle throughout the race.

3 steps from the starting line

3.5 steps from the starting line

Cunha got Pereira to put her left leg half a step back on the starting block.

This is so that her ...

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