Modern methods, technology – Coach Gemedo’s formula for success
With over 20 years of experience training elite athletes, Coach Gemedo Dedefo has solidified himself as one of the preeminent names in marathon running. Originally a teacher by trade, his journey into the realm of athletics began when he took on the task of training his wife, Layla Aman. This pivotal experience paved the way for his illustrious career as a coach, specializing in marathon training and honing extraordinary athletes.
Born in Arsi, Oromia region, Gemedo cut his teeth in athlete development working alongside an Italian manager to scout and select coaching staff. Through daily immersion in the sports science side of the sport, he evolved into a coach in his own right.
It didn’t take long for success to come calling.
Gemedo first made waves at the Dubai Marathon, where his charge Aselfich Merga was victorious in 2011, 2012 and 2015. Fellow Ethiopian Lami Berhanu continued the winning tradition in Dubai in 2014 and 2016 under Gemedo’s guidance.
However, the period between the 2016 Rio Olympics and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics proved to be an arduous chapter for Coach Gemedo. He attributed the lackluster performance was due to Nike-produced shoes, which failed to live up to expectations, as hampering results.
Fortunately, more comfortable running shoes emerged from Adidas after the COVID crisis, reinvigorating Gemedo’s stable.
The coach hit new highs in 2023 with record-setting performances.
Tigist Asefa set a new world best of 2:11:53 while winning in Berlin. Amane Beriso shattered the national record in Valencia before gold at the Budapest World Championships.
On the men’s side, Tamrat Tola took gold at the Oregon Championships. Further solidifying his prowess, he pushed his limits in the New York Marathon, surpassing his personal best and finishing with a remarkable time of 2:04:58.
Valencia witnessed a spectacular display of athleticism as Sisay Lema achieved an outstanding time of 2:01:48 in the recent marathon, securing his position as the fourth-fastest marathon runner. Track specialist Yomif Kejelcha also left a lasting mark on the Valencia half marathon by setting a national record. Under the expert guidance of Coach Gemedo, Yomif completed the race in an awe-inspiring 57:41.
Coach Gemedo, a seasoned mentor with over two decades of experience, has been instrumental in shaping the success of countless athletes. He has overseen the improvement of an astounding 27 competition course records and has trained over 200 athletes throughout his illustrious career.
Presently, Gemedo continues to mentor 50 athletes, including promising novices, who are fortunate to be under his guidance.
Reflecting on his coaching philosophy, Coach Gemedo emphasized the importance of hard work, attention to detail, and unwavering dedication in the pursuit of athletic excellence.
“Even the smallest mistake can result in a fall from one’s rightful place. My aspiration is to maintain this level of success as I look towards the future,” Gemedo told The Reporter.”
With his sights firmly set on the future, Gemedo strives to maintain this exceptional level of accomplishment and inspire his athletes to reach new heights. Beyond the realm of training and competition, the Coach recognizes the indispensable role of familial support in an athlete’s journey towards success.
Showing deep admiration for his athletes, he acknowledges their unwavering dedication and strength, underscoring the significance of a strong support system in achieving remarkable results.
While the field of athletics continues to witness astonishing performances and seemingly insurmountable records, questions about doping have emerged.
However, Coach Gemedo firmly attributes the remarkable achievements of his athletes to innovative training methods supported by cutting-edge technology. He underscores the transformative impact of evolving training techniques, which have been instrumental in their resounding success.
Gone are the days when marathon athletes had to endure grueling three-hour training sessions. The advent of modern methods and the effective utilization of technology have revolutionized the training landscape. Nowadays, athletes typically engage in two-hour training sessions, optimizing their preparation and performance. Moreover, advancements in footwear technology have made running appear effortless, enabling athletes to shatter records that were once thought to be unbeatable.
Coach Gemedo has emerged as a towering figure in the world of athletics, garnering widespread acclaim on the global stage. While his victory in the women’s marathon has etched his name in the annals of history, he remains steadfast in his pursuit of a brighter tomorrow, refusing to rest on his laurels.
For him, the result of a marathon is temporary, lasting merely two hours, but the journey towards greatness is a continuous endeavor that demands unwavering dedication and perpetual preparation for future events.
Despite his numerous record-breaking achievements and triumphs in marathons, individual competitions, and world championships, there is one dream that has eluded Coach Gemedo: winning an Olympic title. However, he finds solace and joy in the prospect of his children following in his footsteps, working diligently to realize their Olympic dreams.
Ethiopian athletes boast an unparalleled history in international athletics, overcoming an array of challenges and making remarkable preparations despite limited resources.
Gemedo shed light on the arduous routines Ethiopian athletes endure to develop their endurance and hone their skills. Rising before dawn, enduring grueling commutes of over 50 kilometers, and training at high altitudes are just a few of the sacrifices they make. Yet, driven by their natural talent and unwavering dedication, Ethiopian athletes have triumphed on the global stage.
As the athletic world continues to evolve, one thing remains certain: Coach Gemedo and his exceptional athletes are at the forefront of this revolution, inspiring generations to come with their unwavering dedication, remarkable achievements, and unyielding spirit. Over two decades in, Coach Gemedo remains primed to produce more champions on one of sport’s biggest stages – a true legendary figure in the marathon world.