Mona Pretorius

Mona Pretorius is an Olympic Weightlifter from South Africa who competes in the 63Kg Class . She has also been a six time World Champion in Karate and also competed and been successful Internationally in Crossfit having been the Regional African champion. Focusing on her Weightlifting, In 2016 she was the Commonwealth Champion and also competed at the World championships in 2015 after having been a medalist in 3 African Championships in previous years. She is the current South african Record Holder in her class and has now won the South African National Championships an incredible 17 times as a Youth, Junior and Open competitor. Mona is currently in Australia for the Commonwealth games.

So the obvious question for someone so young, with Mona being only 29, was how did she amass so many titles and when did she get started on such a mammoth task . Mona told us that she has been weightlifting alongside competing in other the sports since age 12. Mona was only small and it was her Father who realised that Weightlifting would help Mona be a lot more dynamic and explosive, in order to continue her success in Karate. She recalled that being a girl was tough and a real challenge to excel in the weights room and in that environment. Everyone assumed that it was only the boys that should have been doing weightlifting and as a result  Mona had a real fight on over the next few years to prove herself.

Mona was also training hard in Boxing, Kickboxing and Taekwondo, all activities she knew would make her even more explosive and a more formidable Karate opponent. It was in working so hard though  in having to overcome  those obstacles especially in the weights room that ultimately brought the very best out of Mona and opened up so many doors in the sporting world for her. At 16 though she came to a crossroads, Mona had just attended the Commonwealth Championships where she had been selected to represent South Africa.  It was at that point, with some amazing performances  that everyone realised just how good she could be and as a result, she made a decision to turn all her attention and focus to the lifting platform and make the switch over to Olympic Weightlifting full time.

Mona was now an athlete at the highest International level and at such a young age, could have easily decided that this was where her focus lay and therefore an education wasn’t necessary but she was determined to stretch her capacity and her God given potential not just in the gym or on the World stage but also in school and then University. So she gave her very best and eventually completed an honors degree in sport psychology. When asked if and how her faith in God had helped her to succeed in so many areas, she told us what she’d always believed and said she now tells others, which was, “I knew that no matter what people would say and how they had their stereotypes, that God had a plan for me and I just had to follow through. I’ve always known my strength and will power to achieve comes from God and because of that I also know I’m blessed to still compete at such a high level.” Remarkably Mona has now been competing at the highest level for over 18 years.

In all that she’s achieved, Mona is now going back to school to study, with a dream of helping many young athletes reach their potential in sport and particularly weightlifting as a coach, which is something she does already. Alongside that, Mona said she wants to be a role model for you guys and told us just 2 days before the finals, how excited she was to get the opportunity to get involved and be an encouragement to you all.

Mona’s next goal is obviously to do well at the Commonwealth games where she currently is on the Gold coast in Australia and we’ll be able to keep an eye on her with her due to compete at 2pm Australia time this Saturday. After that, her main target will be to do qualify and do well at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and again we hope to be able to follow her journey all the way to the end.