Updated: June 25, 2015

With a run of bad luck behind him, Fredriech Pretorius is eager to shine at the World Student Games (photo credit: Reg Caldecott)

Decathlete Fredriech Pretorius is hoping his string of bad luck will come to an end, as he targets a new personal best in the gruelling two-day event at next month’s World Student Games in Gwangju.
The 20-year-old Tuks/HPC athlete got his 2015 campaign off to a solid start when he racked up a career record of 7 763 points, climbing to second place behind Willem Coertzen in the SA all-time list in the 10-discipline event.
He has since been dogged by misfortune, however, with his last three decathlons ending in disappointment.
At an international meeting in Mauritius, he was forced to use weak poles which could not elevate him over the bar, picking up a foot injury in the process.
At the SA Student Championships in Stellenbosch he struggled with his run-up and could not achieve any height in the pole vault, and at the SA Open Championships in Potchefstroom his pole broke just as he planted it to launch himself into the air, with a part of the broken pole slapping into his body and bruising his ribs.
“I decided to take a complete break from pole vaulting for a few weeks to clear my mind,” Pretorius said on Thursday.
“I only started to jump again three weeks ago. Touch wood, things have been going OK so far.”
While he did not want to make any bold predictions ahead of the World Student Games, Pretorius was confident he could achieve a lifetime best at the biennial university showpiece.
“My first goal will be to score about 7 800 points, but I know I am capable of doing better than that,” he said.
“Much will depend on what happens during the pole vault. During the past few weeks I have worked hard on improving my speed and explosive power.
“In other words, I’ve been working towards achieving maximum power in the shortest space of time.”
If all went well, he believed he could join Coertzen by breaking the 8 000 points barrier this season.
“All I need is for ‘lady luck’ to be on my side for a change, to enable me to put together 10 perfect performances.
“If this should happen, I will be able to break through to 8 000 points.”