SA weightlifter Mona has a sweet tooth and taste for success

Mona Pretorius of South Africa competes in the women's 63kg weight class during the 2015 International Weightlifting Federation World Championships at the George R. Brown Convention Center on November 25, 2015 in Houston, Texas.
Mona Pretorius of South Africa competes in the women's 63kg weight class during the 2015 International Weightlifting Federation World Championships at the George R. Brown Convention Center on November 25, 2015 in Houston, Texas.
Image: Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Weightlifter Mona Pretorius is mixing her sweet tooth with a desire to taste success at her fourth Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast.

The former Port Elizabeth resident‚ who competes in the 69kg category‚ is looking for her maiden Games medal after suffering an injury at Delhi 2010 and blowing out at Glasgow 2014.

Her best performance remains the last time the Commonwealth rodeo came to Australia‚ Melbourne 2006‚ when as a teenager she delivered personal bests‚ although it wasn’t enough to make the podium.

Pretorius‚ who has since moved to Fort Worth‚ Texas‚ to be closer to her coach and boost her bid to do a PhD in sports psychology‚ says nutrition is key to maintaining strength in a competition where one must watch one’s weight.

“I have an extremely sweet tooth … I’m not a person for pizzas and that kind of thing‚ I actually have a lot of allergies.

“If I do treat myself‚ I like fudge‚ I like chocolate. I make these gluten-free waffles with chocolate and almond butter‚” she said‚ adding she’s also lactose intolerant.

But she’s allowing herself a special indulgence in Gold Coast after dinner.

“To trick myself into having dessert‚ I have my casein protein and I will put my almond butter on it — you can almost make it into a mousse — and that continues right up until the night before I compete to make sure I still get my protein requirements in and I get my good fats in.”

Pretorius‚ 29‚ has competed in the 63kg division for nine years‚ and she admits it has been a challenge to stay in the category.

“My coach always (says) I’m a light 69‚ but a heavy 63. We have to make sure that the nutrition is dialled in before the competitions to make sure that when we do cut a little bit of weight we don’t lose any strength.

“We’ve learned not to do too many (competitions) a year‚ especially as you get older. You need to choose your competitions wisely.”

She is in action on Saturday‚ with the competition set for 2pm (6am SA time) and the weigh-in two hours earlier.

Pretorius started weightlifting at the age of 12 to help her then primary sport‚ karate‚ where she won six world championships at age-group and open level‚ including one alongside the Dorfman brothers‚ Shane and Saville.

But she fell in love with weightlifting after getting her first taste of international competition at the 2003 All African Games as a 14-year-old.

Now the third Dan is ready for Commonwealth success.

“Training has been going well‚ I feel relaxed about my performance‚” Pretorius said at the athletes’ village this week. “I’m excited to get onto the platform and lift.”

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