Local teen shows her mettle in weightlifting

2018-06-27 06:02
; Luané Viljoen.Photo:ANIKA DE BEER

; Luané Viljoen.Photo:ANIKA DE BEER

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A PROMISING young athlete from Nelson Mandela Bay is gearing up to compete for a spot in the national team that will represent South Africa at the African Weightlifting Championships in Algeria this year.

Luané Viljoen, a Grade 7 learner at Excelsior Primary School, only started weightlifting in May last year and has already made a name for herself.

The 12-year-old participated in her first competition in June last year when she took gold in the girls u/14 53kg category of the Eastern Cape Weightlifting Championships.

She was also crowned the best u/14 female lifter and awarded Eastern Cape colours to represent the province at the South African Weightlifting Championships.

There she again took the gold medal home in the girls u/14 58kg category and received the Champ of Champions trophy.

To top things off, Viljoen was the youngest competitor ever to be selected for a senior competition when she took part in the National Coastal Championships in Mossel Bay. She won silver in her category.

This, in turn, set up her confidence to win gold and the National Senior Weightlifting Championships in her category in Durban.

Following this, her proud coach, Pieter Pretorius, said, “What makes this remarkable, is this young lady is only 11 years old (she has since turned 12) and has already outperformed girls who are one, two and three years older than her.”

Asked what got her started in the sport, Viljoen said it was because her stepfather and her coach worked together.

“The sport took his (Pretorius) daughter, Mona, far. I’m wearing part of her uniform right now. She won bronze in the 63kg category of the Commonwealth Games.

“We went to have a look at the gym here in PE; my coach heard I was 11 years old and suggested that maybe I start learning the sport to build the necessary muscle because I had potential. So, I tried it and now I can’t live without it,” Viljoen said.

This Friday and Saturday she will be trying out for a spot in the team that will be going to Algeria soon.

According to Pretorius, she has a 90% chance of being selected.

“If she makes the team, SASCOC will cover most of the expenses,” said Viljoen’s grandfather, Piet.

“What we’re looking for right now is a good Samaritan to help us cover the day-to-day costs, such as the transport to and from the gym five days a week and other more local competitions that they have to pay for themselves.”

According to him, Viljoen’s biggest dream is to one day represent South Africa at the Olympics.

For now, she is enjoying making a name for herself in weightlifting, being a model and preparing for high school next year.

She will be going to Framesby, something she is especially excited about because both Mona and her father attended Framesby as well.

Anyone who would like to assist Luané, can get in touch with her grandfather, Piet at 084 439 9397.


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