Isaac Makwala Biography: Age, Family, Education, Career, Controversy

Isaac Makwala Biography: Age, Family, Education, Career, Controversy

Nov 27, 2019, 01:26 PM

Isaac Makwala is a Botswana sprinter who won gold for his country of Botswana in the Commonwealth Games in 2018. He specialises in the 400 metre sprint. He also claimed the winning continental titles at distance. He won the 2015 African Games and twice the African Championships in Athletics.

Isaac Makwala Age, Family, Education


Isaac Makwala was born on the 24th September 1985 in Tutume, Botswana. He is 35 years old and has an older brother by the name of Isaiah Makwala.
“He is the last born in the family from my father’s second wife. He grew up right before my eyes, we were never separated for long periods,” Isaiah said. 

He attended Mpane Primary School and Pandagala Secondary School. Under the coaching guidance of Zibane Molopo, the Nswazwi Brigade lecturer and coach, after meeting him in 2005, Isaac got into proper athletic structure and competed nationally.

Pic cred: ghanamansports


His father, Wonderful Makwala, is said to be Isaac Makwalas’s biggest influence. His father is a traditional Kalanga Farmer. He said he first noticed his son’s athletic ability when he was in his early years of primary school. 

“I would often be called to come and witness my son leaving behind grown men in races before he was even a teenager. Nonetheless, I never approved of this, as I wanted him to focus on his acedemics at Mpane primary school,” Wonderful said. 

Isaac often left his father in awe at his physical abilities and he was already making money by 2006 from his numerous running assignments and investing most of it in cattle farming. The 35 year old sprinter won the African Championships in Athletics in 2012 and 2014. 

Isaac Makwala Career


Isaac has represented his country at the 2016 Summer Olympics, 3 times at the Commonwealth Games and 5 times at the World Championships in Athletics (2007, 2009, 2013, 2015, 2017). He has won medals at the African Games and Championships with the Botswana 4 x 400 metres relay, as well as a silver medal at the 2017 IAAF World Relays.


Isaac’s personal best time was 43.72, set 5 July 2015 in La Chaux-de-Fonds and it was an African continental record which ranks him number 8 on the all-time list, the second fastest non-American. He also runs the sub-20 200 metres.

Isaac Makwala the first man in history to run a 200 metre within 20 seconds and a 400 metre within 44 seconds on the same day. This achievemnet came on the 14th July 2017 and he ran 43.92 in the 400 metres and then 19.77 (+0.0) in the 200, 2 hours and 20 minutes later at the Meeting de Atletismo Madrid.

He qualified for 400 metres final at the 2017 World Championships, before being withdrawn from the race. This was due to illness. He then qualified for a further 200 metre final and took 6th place overall.
In his Athletic career, Isaac has won 8 Gold Medals and 5 Silver Medals. He has represented Botswana in the following major competitions:

2007 – All Africa Games; World Championships
2008 – African Championships
2009 – World Championships; 
2010 – World Indoor Championships; African Championships; Commonwealth Games
2011 – All-Africa Games; 
2012 – World Indoor Championships; African Championships
2013 – World Championships
2014 – Commonwealth Games; African Championships
2015 – IAAF World Relays; World Championships; African Games
2016 – African Championships; Olympic Games; 
2017 – IAAF Relays; World Championships
2018 – Commonwealth Games
2019 – African Games

Isaacs Makwala’s personal bests are; 200 metres – 19.77 secs, Madrid, Spain, 14th July 2017 and 400 metres – 43.72 secs (#2 African all time), La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, 5th July 2015.

Isaac Makwala Controversy


Isaac Makwala did not win anything in the London World Championships 2017 and that was not the only cause for disappointment by the young athlete. A debate broke out about his health which led him to being barred from the 400 metre final. The row raged from BBC presidential suites. Whether or not it was actually the Nonovirus as was claimed, made no difference to the general talk and it went viral. Two months later and the temperament had lowered.


Pic cred: ghanamansports.com


On the night that the drama broke out, Michael Johnson, the events pre-eminent face, questioned whether the IAAF decision was to stop Isaac from running with the desire to anoint Wayde van Niekerk as the sports post-Bolt star, calling it, “the elephant in the room.”

Makwala’s illness did however dominate the talk of the evening, especially after he was denied entry to the London Stadium because he was allegedly suffering from the infectious disease that required him to be quarantined in the room for 48 hours.

This decision was angrily criticized by Makwala, who claimed openly on Facebook that when he arrived at the stadium he was the victim of a ‘government trap’.
“We fought all day for the truth to come out,” he added. “I still maintain I have never been sick and not tested by any doctor,” he said when speaking to the BBC.
“I am heartbroken. I feel like it is sabotage. I am feeling good to run,” he added.

However, Dr Pam Venning said that Isaac Makwala came in to the medical centre of his own accord on that Monday and was examined.

“When he was told he had a gastrointestinal disease he tried to leave but one of my other senior members of staff brought him back in because we have an outbreak of gastroenteritis in the hotels and it is highly infectious,” she said.

“He had taken a history, examined him, pulse, respiratory and the history from this gentleman is very clear that he had symptoms similar to all the other athletes classified as having this gastro-intestinal disease,” she said.

This heart-wrenching experience left his parents with very painful emotions.
“I was sad when I saw how badly he was being treated on TV. His mother and I turned to prayer. That experience brought sadness in both Bokalaka and Mmangwato. The president even came to my house and discussed the matter,” said Isaac’s father.

Well all seems to be going well for the athlete as he's focused on his career only.

Read next: Amantle Montsho Biography: Age, Family, Education, Career, Controversy, Networth

Main image credit: ghanamansports
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TSWAlebs Team

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