Norman Ontong

Norman Ontong
Norman Ontong
Coach and founder of Fit2Run, South Africa

Norman is an athletics coach and the founding member of the Fit2Run, a not-for-profit initiative that caters for young people from socio-economically challenging backgrounds. He is from a humble family of keen and accomplished sportsmen and women. Thus, he was also drawn into various sports from an early age. In his youth, rugby was his main sport. At College, he played rugby for Peninsula Technikon and represent them at two inter-College Tournaments. After College, he joined the Worcester Villagers, a prestigious rugby club with strong community ties, and he went on to captain the club’s first team in 1986. Since early 1990s, he directed his energy to athletics and has been participating in road races. He won silver medals at the Two Oceans and the Comrades in 1996, two of South Africa’s prestigious and world-renown ultra-marathon events. In addition to these top achievements, he has won numerous other medals and awards for his athletics performance and community service.

He turned to athletics coaching during his years of teaching at school. He observed that despite showing talent, promise and grit, most of the primary school learners dropped out of the competition completely by the time they reached teenage years. Like himself, these children were largely from black and coloured communities, with little means and many other socio-economic challenges. It was in this context that Fit2Run was established. He teamed up with other older athletes and friends, and in 2008, they formally launched the initiative. Despite many challenges in maintaining the initiative and inspiring many young people, Norman continues to follow his passion of coaching and mentoring the local youth in athletics.

Fit2Run Practice
The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic Spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.     Olympic Charter

The purpose of Fit2Run is to meaningfully engage with the social problems in the community by creating and providing opportunities through sports. The mentoring and coaching of children as young as 10 years gives them a fair opportunity to reach their full potential. The programmes of Fit2Run are not only based around athletics, but also have a humanitarian side. Fit2Run works closely with schools in order to ensure that athletes perform well at their studies as well. Fit2Run has 88 members of which there are 60 junior athletes. These junior athletes are also part of the Fit4Life project, which aims to enrich young children’s life to take on a healthy and drug-free lifestyle.

Norman worked tirelessly for the past 12 years, overcoming major challenges and setbacks, to elevate the organization has beacon of hope for many young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in the area. The feats Fit2Run has achieved under Norman’s supervision is nothing less than spectacular. His athletes have performed exceptionally well at regional, national and international levels. One athlete represented South Africa in the Youth Games of 2013 in Donetsk, Ukraine. Two athletes hold national colours and many other regularly win medals at national competitions. Through Fit2Run’s bursary programmes, they have assisted 8 student-athletes to study at South Africa’s top universities. Four of them have already completed their studies successfully and two are pursuing their honours.