Big award for Mona | SASCOC - SASCOC

Big award for Mona

Third-year sports psychology student Mona Pretorius is this year’s Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s sportswoman of the year.

This down-to-earth former Framesby, Port Elizabeth pupil is like any other 21-year-old ÔÇô she loves dancing, singing and spending time with friends, but with one difference: not many of her friends are black belts in karate and can lift more than three times their body weight.

Mona is an champion international weightlifter and has won the South African championships for nine years in a row, winning the senior title in her weight division in July 2009.

Her personal best is 180 kilograms, a South African record, and her most recent international accolade was a silver medal last month at the Commonwealth Championships in Malaysia.

She is a tiny 56kg and 165 centimetres tall, competing in the under 58kg weight division.

ÔÇ£People always think that as a weightlifter you have to be big and when they see me they can’t believe I’m a weightlifter. “They always think, ‘but that’s a man’s sport, not a girl’s sport’. When people think of weightlifting they think of body builders. It’s a completely different sport. This a sport that focuses on power and strength.ÔÇØ

She trains twice a day with her coach Aveenash Pandoo and no longer has time for karate, which she competed in for eight years.

ÔÇ£It’s hard to juggle my studies with my training. My training has a lot to do with quality and not quantity. As a weightlifter your body constantly changes and new methods need to be used. It is very tough to fully prepare for my competitions.

“Nutrition and rest are very important, as they help you to recover faster, and good rest helps me to be ready for each training session to give my best. Mental preparation is also very important in order to be fully ready for my competition.ÔÇØ

She started weightlifting in 2000 when she was only 12 as a means to improve her karate. During this time she won six world championships in karate and progressed as far as her black belt.

ÔÇ£My father got me involved in the sport. I started weightlifting to improve my karate and it helped my explosive power and strength.ÔÇØ

The whole family is involved with sport: her mother, Yvette, is a national referee in weightlifting, her father, Pieter, played Craven Week rugby and her younger sister, Mariska, 17, has also competed in weightlifting.

Mona was thrilled to bring back a silver medal from the Commonwealth Championships in Malaysia last month. ÔÇ£I’m so happy, I’m so excited and I wish I could bring the trophy home, but it’s still in Malaysia. I received a nice certificate in a frame, which is very nice. The girl that won the gold had a lighter body weight than me in our 58kg weight division.ÔÇØ

Mona says she’s very honoured to be NMMU’s sportswoman of the year. “It’s such a great achievement.ÔÇØ

She competed in her first weightlifting competition in 2001 and has gone on to compete in numerous international championships, being the first South African weightlifter to win a medal at a world championship event, the University World Championships in November 2008.

ÔÇ£My ultimate sports dream is to compete in the Olympics in London in 2012 but for now I’m training for next year’s University World Championships in Chinese Taipei in July 2010.ÔÇØ

This article was written by Kirsten Rademan (The Herald, La Femme)


  1. Aveenash Pandoo

    December 2, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    Congrats Mona.

    Mona is a highly dedicated lifter and since knowing her and started working with her she has always given her best in anything she does.
    She has a great future ahead of her and her success in the recent World University is just the beginning of her rewards. There are more to come.

    Aveenash Pandoo.

  2. Connie du Plooy

    December 23, 2009 at 10:32 pm

    Congatulations Mona. A great achievement. Well done! Good luck with your preparations for Commonwealth Games

  3. mpho

    January 24, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    Well done girl,with women like you in this country we can fly higher than we can imagine,young,strong and dedicated with those qualities you can’t go wrong,you got it girl your name is “POSSIBLE” and thank you for winning its my motivation.

  4. Connie

    February 18, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Dear Mpo

    Please forward your contact details.

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