Dr. Woldemeskel Kostre is regarded by many as the father of athletics in Ethiopia, unfortunately the coach passed away on Monday aged 69 years of age.
Kostre has been down for some time since suffering a stroke few years back and had a surgery in his mind. He was in bed for the last couple of years.
said Omna Tadele Gebru, a sports journalist from Ethiopia
Kostre is well known for nurturing athletes like Kenenisa Bekele, Tirunesh Dibaba, he also coached Haile Gebreselassie, Derartu Tulu, Birhane Adere, Kenenisa Bekele, the Dibaba sisters (Tirunesh and Ejigayehu) among others.
In the 1964 Tokyo Olympic games, he had the chance to represent Ethiopia at the same time he had received a scholarship from a College in Hungary, he opted for the latter
He was then appointed the assistant coach of the senior Athletics team at the 1972 Munich Olympic where John Akii-Bua won Uganda her first Olympic gold medal.
Two time Olympic gold medalist and four time world champions Haile Gebrselassie described Kostre as a very strict man who prioritized during an interview with Sheger FM.
We have lost Dr. Kostre. He had been ill for a long time. Dr. Kostre was a very strict man. He has shown me how to behave. He has given discipline a top priority. It sad he left us now.
Ethiopian athletes have won a total of 38 Olympic medals (18 Gold, 6 Silver & 14 Bronze) since they first took part at the 1960 Rome Olympics. The number of medals won by Ethiopian athletes since Dr. Woldemeskel took over the national head coach position is 28 (13 Gold, 5 Silver & 10 Bronze).
Although he played soccer like most kids in Ethiopia, it was athletics and in particular track that attracted him the most. He represented his school in the 400m, 800m and 1500m races.
His big break came in 1964, when at the tender age of 17; he took part in the national athletics championship, where he excelled in the 800m and 1,500m races. His results landed him a place in the national team, which at that time was preparing for the Tokyo Olympic Games.