Any criminal who engages with Constable Patty Pretorius, had better beware.
Patty, an 11-year law enforcement veteran assigned to SAPS Strand, has just retuned from the 2017 Raw Powerlifting Federation World Championships in Eire, Pennsylvania, where she proved just how formidable she is.
Her crowning achievement was setting a new world record in her age division and weight class for squat with a final lift of 135kg, and she equalled her 75kg benchpress world record, set at the 2016 championships, which also took place in Erie, Pennsylvania.
But it doesn’t end there. Patty came first in her age division , second in the open division with a combined weight of 367.5kg – squat, 136kg; benchpress, 75kg; deadlift, 157.5kg. And to crown in it all, in the law/fire/military division in her weight class she came tops with that combined weight too.
In 2016, Patty set two world records in this division: 125kg squat and 75kg benchpress, which she bettered and equalled respectively this year.
Speaking at West Workout Gym in Fountains Arcade, Somerset West, where Patty trains, she told Bolander about her competition experience and how it felt when she set the squat record: “I said to myself, I’m not going to let this squat beat me. I’m not going to give. I’m going to get it.”
“She took a long time with that squat,” says Howard Cladingbowl, owner of West Workout Gym and Patty’s coach, “but her form was excellent and she just didn’t give up.”
“Having Howard there while I was on the platform, made all the difference,” says Patty. “I couldn’t have done it without him.”
Motivation is a vital component of successful competition lifting, and aside from the constant attention from coach Howard while training in the gym, Patty’s husband, Louis, is her support system at home.
“There’s many a time I come to the gym early morning, a bit annoyed at him, because he’s the one who pulls off the covers and says ‘come on, time to get up. Champions don’t become champions by lying in bed’. He has been my support system right from the word go, and I understood how important his support has been when I achieved what I did this year.”
Patty’s local and international powerlifting achievements have also gained her recognition in the 2017 SAPS National Excellence Awards, where she was named first runner-up for sportswoman of the year at an awards ceremony on Saturday October 21. “I faced really tough competition, so being first runner-up was for me a rewarding achievement.”
And what does the future hold? “Patty’s going to be entering a whole new field next year. She’s going to give StrongWoman a try,” says Howard. “Although it is very different from powerlifting, it will complement because of its strength-building.”
“I’m super-excited about StrongWoman. It’s new and different but I can do both,” says Patty.
StrongWoman includes events like tyre-flipping, vehicle pulling, and deadlifting anvils, axles and loaded frames.
Although Howard initially didn’t plan to compete because of an injury, he ended up on the platform anyway with some encouragement from Patty. Competing in the masters division, his combined weight 565kg – 205kg squat, 122.5kg benchpress, 237.5kg deadlift – won him second in his division, and he ended up winning the deadlift with a 237.5kg lift.
And quite naturally, both Patty and Howard plan to compete in next year’s world championships in October.