Sunday, March 27, 2011 Highlight: Renato Canova, Who exactly is Imane Merga and how did you develop him to get his win at World XC?

Lone Guy
I know i'm way behind on the times, but was absolutely shocked to see how Imane Merga just blew away the competition with his incredible sprint and realized Renato Canova was his coach. How did you manage to develop his kick and his endurance to win the race? And i've really never heard of Imane Merga, who is he exactly?

Renato Canova
Imane Merga is a very nice person, still very young not only as age, but also as athletic activity.

He was already 4th in World Championsips in Berlin in 10000m.

At that time I was not his coach. He asked me to follow him last year, at the beginning of April, in Dongio (Switzerland) where I wenr for a competition together with Moses Mosop and Richard Mateelong.

I found the guy very clever, motivated and with good education. He is one of the few Ethiopian speaking a basic good English, and also is able to read English very well.

Imane Merga is under the management of Gianni Demadonna, the Italian manager that for the first time introduced me in Kenya in 1998, when I was the Technical Scientific Director of the Italian federation.

When we spoke together, we decided to have a particular eye for the new Diamond League. Because for being competitive in that League the athletes need to compete in the same event 7 times, and in 2010 there were no Championships, we cancelled every other competition from his calendar, apart African Championships in Nairobi at the end of July, that in any case never could produce top results, because Imane never was able to run very well in high altitude.

The new workouts in his training were :

a) More use of sprints uphill
b) More mileage
c) More modulation
d) Introduction of long intervals on track, and of mixed intervals for increasing the final sprint in a situation of high accumulation of lactate

The second point was that we worked for having a top shape in 3 different period (coincident with his victories in some meeting of Diamond League), and for trying to be at 90% of his shape during the other meetings.