Norman Dlomo unearths future champions who are poised for success
After a successful career as a top runner, Norman Dlomo is using his experience to unearth future champions. Known for his prowess over the half marathon and marathon especially, the man who took third position in the 2007 Milano Marathon in Italy where he clocked a personal best time of 2:10:38, has turned to coaching where he is also starting to find success.
Aptly named Dimathi Sports Promotion, which means runners in Sesotho, the man who represented South Africa at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing aimed to use his experience to scout promising athletes in the Vanderbijlpark area to be trained by professional coaches. Because he serves as the Chairperson for development for the federation of Athletics Vaal Triangle (AVT) and being originally from the Vaal himself, it made sense for him to start his coaching career on the banks of the Vaal River.
"When my career was fast approaching its end. I sat down and asked myself what was next for me. Then I decided to give back to the sport because I'm who I am today due to sport, " explains Dlomo, who obtained 10th position in the 2005 World Athletics Half Marathon in Canada.
"The program Dimathi was born with the assistance of my wife who has been supporting me in every decision I took in life. We identify runners at school athletics events and bring them into the program to be trained by qualified coaches. If a student has good marks, we try by all means to put him/her into a better school that excels when it comes to sports. Plus, we have partnered with the Vaal University of Technology so after high school, an athlete can obtain a bursary depending on their academic results. It's good to assist with something that lives in you because athletics runs in my blood," he said.
And Dlomo's programme is beginning to unearth a few possible gems. For example Sowetan Jessica Mbhamali is still disbelief that she finally going to jet off to United States of America today. Mbhamali earned an athletics scholarship at Monoroe College in New York to study criminal justice course for two years. Even though, she first heard the news in September last year, Mbhamali, who specializes in 5 000m track and 10km on the road is yet to let the news sink in.
"I'm over the moon if I can tell you. In my family, I'm going to be the first person to take a flight and travel overseas. My father has been telling neighbors and relatives non-stop about this," said, Mbhamali, who came fourth during Athletics South Africa (ASA ) Cross Country Championship over 4km distance in U23 Category.
The 22-year-old who has been a promising runner for some time but has blossomed since she started training under Dlomo's watchful eye for over a year ago. The former SA 5 000m Champion, believes Mbhamali possessed the hunger to succeed. "I think I must not take much credit for her achievements. She came into our group, already with the right mentality, discipline and hunger. I'm happy that she is to be mentored by people with good intentions for sport. As much as she is disciplined, she must understand that the US is another country with different lifestyle. She must focus on training hard so that one day she is going to represent the country. I wish her all the best in her journey."