Isaac Omurwa: Ferdinand Omanyala’s Brother Focused on Emulating Africa’s Fastest Man

Isaac Omurwa: Ferdinand Omanyala’s Brother Focused on Emulating Africa’s Fastest Man

Martin Moses
updated at March 13, 2024 at 6:32 AM
  • Ferdinand Omanyala has made a name for himself as one of the best sprinters in the world
  • His younger brother, Isaac Omurwa, is keen on emulating the path of the African champion
  • Sports Brief has spoken with Omurwa for an exclusive interview to shed light on his career

Ferdinand Omanyala's meteoric rise as one of the most formidable sprinters in the world has caught the attention of a nation that beforehand, to put it loosely, didn't give two hoots about sprinting.

Omanyala has successfully and singlehandedly changed that narrative, becoming the fastest man in Africa, the Commonwealth champion and the ninth-fastest man of all time.

Isaac Kundu Omurwa, Ferdinand Omanyala, Paris Olympics 2024, Commonwealth Champion, African champion
Ferdinand Omanyala and his brother, Isaac Omurwa, at the Athletics Kenya trials in 2023. Photo by Luis Tato.
Source: Getty Images

But even as he continues to inspire millions in the country, one Isaac Kundu Omurwa is privileged enough to learn from the man himself up close.

Who is Isaac Omurwa?

Omurwa is the lastborn in a family of five children, and Omanyala is the middle child. Like his brother, he has taken sprinting as a full-time career.

As he settles for an exclusive chat with Sports Brief, Omurwa shares that, contrary to popular belief, his star brother did not influence him to take up sprinting.

Sprinting, he says, came to him naturally while a secondary school student at Alliance High School. His class teacher, Miss Kiongo, noticed his talent and advised him to join the school team.

"I represented the school from the zonal competitions to East Africa, and that's when I realised I wanted to take this seriously."

Before switching over to running, Omurwa was a rugby player, but a series of injuries deterred him from the sport.

"I used to play rugby in high school, but I was very unfortunate with injuries. I decided to switch to a low-risk sport because sprinting is not a contact sport. I won't be going back to rugby."

After finishing high school in late 2022, Omurwa formally asked his brother whether he could join him in training. The duo is currently under the auspices of renowned strength and conditioning coach, Geoffrey Kimani.

Omanyala, Omurwa train together

They do most of their training sessions together unless when Omanyala has specific programs he needs to do.

For instance, their training routines slightly differed when Omanyala was preparing for the World Indoor Championships, where he narrowly missed a podium, settling for fourth in the men's 60m.

"We train five times a week. A typical training day starts with stretches and warm up. We then interchange with 80m and 120m sprints. Afterwards, depending on the day, we will have gym sessions."

Omanyala's social media videos and press conferences always depict a man not fazed by any challenge thrown at him. Omurwa agrees but picks up another attribute he likes about Omanyala, the athlete.

"He is very hardworking. He always shows up for training. He is very determined, and that's what inspires me to do better every day."

Omurwa's career and favourite pastimes

Omurwa has already flown the country's flag in regional competitions, with his personal best in the 100m currently standing at 10.35 seconds.

His coach, Kimani, recently applauded him for the major strides he has taken, intimating that more is yet to come from the soon-to-be 20-year-old.

"The Young Gun... 19-year-old Isaac is carving his own niche. He joined the program this season with a personal best of 10.50 secs in the 100m dash; halfway through, we are on a new PB of 10.35 secs!"

Omurwa participated in the African U20 Junior championships held in Ndola, Zambia in 2023. He similarly reached the East Africa Games with Alliance High School in the secondary school games.

"If it feels good to carry the flag of Kenya, I want to do more."

While not training or doing anything related to running the ardent Manchester United fan loves to unwind by watching movies or hanging out with his family. He strongly vouches for Blacklist, Vikings, and Last Kingdom as the best TV shows he has ever watched.

He also admits that if he had not taken up sprinting as a career, he would have been at the university pursuing a course in engineering.

Omurwa looks to Paris 2024 Olympics

We shift our focus to the busy outdoor 2024 season, which includes the Paris Olympics in July. Omurwa opines that competition for the few slots of the summer games will be intense but insists he is ready for the challenge.

"If I keep up with this current pace, my main aim is to run a sub-10 in future if all goes well. It is not too soon. Everything is possible. I will keep training and see if I can make it to Paris."

How he deals with 'Omanyala pressure'

Omanyala has already qualified for the games after hitting the set standard entry of 10.00 seconds in an approved World Athletics event, which leads to ask if Omurwa faces any pressure to be compared to his star brother.

"Of course, there is pressure being compared to the fastest man in Africa. When I take to the track, people often want me to hit the same heights as Omanyala. I just have to compose myself and realise that some of these things take time. When you are not ready, you cannot perform. I am confident in my training. It is now all about keeping the composure on race days."

The steady progress and improvement of both Omanyala and Omurwa under Coach Kimani offer immense hope of better things to come. Coupled with the direct influence of having an African champion to learn from firsthand, Omurwa couldn't be in better hands.

A brother dethroning a brother and beating his records? One can only dream.

Omanyala's wife tells his story

Sports Brief has previously also talked to Omanyala's wife, Laventa Amutavi.

Omanyala has often credited his partner with his success as a sprinting force.

Amutavi shared Omanyala's inspiring story to stardom from her perspective.

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Martin Moses
Martin Moses is a sports journalist with over five years of experience in media. He graduated from Multimedia University of Kenya (Bachelor of Journalism, 2017-2021)
Ferdinand OmanyalaKenya