Negussie Roba (1935-1992)

Negussie Roba was the long-time national coach for Ethiopian Athletics Federation. This sensational national coach is widely acknowledged as the man behind the success of every Ethiopian long-distance runner from the Mexico City Olympics all the way to the Moscow Olympics in 1980. Negussie was a formidable runner and soccer player by his won right too.

Coach Negussie was born in 1935 in the Jijiga region of Eastern Ethiopia in a place called FereAd. He later moved top Addis Ababa where he completed his elementary and secondary education at the Teferri Mekonnen school. He later attended the commercial school in the capital. Negussie also attended the Charles University in Czechoslovakia where he obtained his masters degree in sports and physical training.

Negussie was a member of the first Ethiopian Olympics Committee that traveled to Melbourne, Australia. He had participated in the 100 and 200 meters races. In the Rome Olympics, Negussie competed in the same races too.

A total of 6 medals were won at the Olympics by athletes trained by Coach Negussie. His coaching was not limited to Ethiopia alone. He had trained athletes from other parts of Africa helping the continent win medals in events held in Germany, Australia and the Americas.

Coach Negussie was also member of the Executive Committee of African Amateur Athletics Federation and IAAF. The government of Ethiopia had awarded Negussie the "Black Nile" medal while the IAAF honored him with a "veteran pin" and a diploma. The current (1998) marathon record was made by Belayneh Dinsamo, a trainee of Coach Negussie. This long-standing record had earned Coach Negussie a prize of an automobile.

Coach Negussie died in April of 1992 at the young age of 57. Ethiopia will always remember this fine coach for the pride he brought to his people.

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