Teen weightlifters going for gold


Port Elizabeth weightlifters Jayden Pretorius and Luane Viljoen are ready to show the weightlifting world what they are all about at the Arnold Classic Africa starting this weekend.The pair, training at the ECX Dragons Gym, in Sardinia Bay Road, have been hard at work in anticipation of the competition with Luane, 13, who is ranked as the best U14 and youth female lifter in the country, competing at her first Arnold Classic.“I am very excited about this. There are a few nerves in there somewhere,” Luane, who will compete in the 64kg category, said.“However, once I step onto that platform I think all the nerves will disappear because I know how hard I have worked to get here.”Asked if there was anything specific they had worked on during their preparations, the 2018 Herald SPAR Homegrowing Hero said: “There were a few small tweaks I needed to make with my clean-and-jerk, but I am confident that I can get it right before the competition starts.“This is going to be a very exciting year.“I have qualified for the SA team to compete at the Commonwealth Youth Games, in Samoa in July, and it will be my first time representing South Africa, so I am quite excited and proud about that. ”Jayden, 16, was selected for the Youth Olympic Games in 2018 and has won a gold medal at all the major national competitions from U14 all the way to senior.He will attempt a feat never before achieved in the competition.Jayden, competing in the 73kg category, will be attempting to break the clean-and-jerk, snatch and total records in both the junior and youth categories, as well as attempting the senior snatch record.“We have put a lot of work into preparing for this competition.“I am very happy with the work I have put in and I am quietly confident that we can break the records we are aiming for,” he said.“I am confident in my ability. I don’t think about my competition and who I will go up against. All I am focused on is perfecting my lifts on the platform and if I can do that it could be a very good competition for us.”Dragons coach Pieter Pretorius said: “These two are quite possibly the best young weightlifters the country has ever produced. That they are at the top of their game so early bodes well for them as they move through the ranks.”He said both athletes aimed to clean up the medals table in their respective weight classes, but admitted: “Talent alone will not carry them across the line.“They have to want it more than the other competitors.“But I believe they have what it takes to claim multiple golds at the competition.”v

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