Japanese distance coach Yoshio Koide (Miyuki Meinaka) © Copyright

Japanese distance coach Koide dies

The IAAF is deeply saddened to hear that leading Japanese marathon coach Yoshio Koide died of pneumonia on Wednesday (24) at the age of 80.

Koide coached more than 20 women to sub-2:30 personal bests, helping Japan become a powerhouse in marathon running. Naoko Takahashi was his best-known charge; Koide guided her to Olympic gold in 2000 in Sydney where she clocked an Olympic record of 2:23:14 which stood for 12 years.

One year later, Takahashi became the first woman in history to break the 2:20 barrier, setting a world record of 2:19:46 in Berlin.

Takahashi paid tribute to her coach. “It was thanks to Coach Koide that I was able to win an Olympic medal, set a world record, and become the person I am now,” she told the Japan Times. “He gave me his precious time, teaching me patiently and running with me. I am so grateful to him, it would be impossible for me to thank him enough.”

Koide also coached Hiromi Suzuki to the 1997 world title and Yuko Arimori to Olympic silver in 1992 and Olympic bronze in 1996. This week Arimori expressed her sadness that she would not be able to watch the marathon events with him at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.