© Copyright
General News

Athletics loses Mihaly Igloi: Hungarian master coach of the 50s

Mihaly Igloi, the master of distance running, has died aged 89. He coached Iharos, Rozsavlgyi, Tabori and Schul

Mihàly Igloi, one of the best known personalities of the world of athletics, died on 4 January, in Budapest, at the age of 89. He was born on 5 September 1908.

As a young man, Igloi was an excellent distance runner and was a member of the world record-breaking MAC Club 4x1500 team, which set the record time of 15:55.4 on 20 August 1939.

Fourteen years later, now a coach, he watched as four of his Hungarian pupils - Garay, Béres, Rozsavolgyi and Iharos - set a new mark of 15:29.2 for the same distance.

This was the first major success of a long and glorious coaching career in Hungary, the United States and, finally, in Greece. Igloi was the driving force behind the golden years of Hungarian distance running in the fifties, when the country dominated the world, thanks to Tabori, Iharos, Rozsavolgyi and Kovacs. This magical technician - who believed in the most arduous training schedules - also contributed to some of the more sensational victories of American distance runners, such as Bob Schul in the 5000m in the Tokyo Olympics in 1964. For a number of years, Igloi coached at the Santa Monica Track Club, then famous for distance runners Jim Beatty, Dyrol Burleson and a certain Joe Douglas.

There was never any doubt about Igloi’s technical abilities and perhaps the greatest monument to his memory will be the incredible number of records established by his pupils: 49 world records, 35 European records and no fewer than 45 American and 157 Greek national titles.