I have always been fortunate to have a great team behind me with people I have built relationships with over the years of being involved with sport. Having this great team behind me and realizing the difference it makes when you have important decisions is life-saving. Additionally, having them by your side when you compete and train can make the world of difference. Having the right people by your side is even more important. When you have the right people by your side, they help you when things are tough. They are also the role models and people who will pull you in the right direction towards success and reaching your goals.
Life isn’t always all ups. When you gravitate towards the wrong crowd it can be detrimental to your success and hard work you have put in, year in and year out.
Being in the academic and sporting world I have been blessed in so many ways with some amazing mentors and people that have lead by example. They have shown me the ropes in life. Without these people, it wouldn’t have been so easy to bounce back from setbacks.
I realized that a bad meet doesn’t define you, but coming back stronger does.
I have had many set-backs but I have also had many great moments that have made those set-backs worth it. I probably wouldn’t have been so blown away by that amazing moment if it wasn’t for those bad days. An example was my 2018 Commonwealth Games performance. This had been my 4th Commonwealth Games and I have been in the sport for 18 years. I competed in my 1st Commonwealth Games at the age of 17 and won Gold at the Youth Commonwealth Games as well as broke the Youth Commonwealth record when I was 15 years of age. Having achieved this there was a great expectation for me to do well at all my senior Commonwealth Games… yet the opposite happened.
2006 was a great performance. Not even being a senior, I came 5th. So for my 2nd games in 2010 and 2014, I wanted to go for the podium, I missed all my lifts at the 2010 Commonwealth Games with an injury going into game day. All athletes know, when you put in years of work, how devastating it can be when you fail on game day. Nevertheless, I went onto rehabbing my injury and had a good build-up towards my 2014 Commonwealth Games. Another upset. I bombed on my snatches, walking away once again with no total and years of work that has gone into preparation from nutrition, physical training, and mental preparation.
I have always had great role-models and people across the world who have always encouraged me. I believed that this was not the end of Mona Pretorius. My 4th Commonwealth Games came along in 2018 this year held in Australia, Gold coast in April/May. The difference was my mindset and experience. I went into this Games happy and with a plan. I had a plan for my previous games, but this feeling was different. I prepared with my Team back home in South Africa and I wasn’t going down without a fight for that podium placing. My preparation was also a lot different to all my previous competitions as with age and avoiding injuries, we had to train smarter to maximize my performance.
My body felt healthy and my mind was ready. My team was so supportive as always and I just had a feeling I got this. I got all 6 my lifts, broke 3 South African records and achieved my BIG GOAL and DREAM by standing on that podium, winning a bronze medal felt as good as the gold on that day knowing all the work and tough times were so worth it. I want to emphasize that I couldn’t have done it without my people. They were there through the good and the bad and I am so grateful to have them by my side. Achieving your goals and having your team and people to share it with is one of the best feelings in the world.
A quote from a book called Beyond Talent:
“Surround yourself with people who add value to you and encourage you, and your talent will go in a positive direction”