Athletics: Go sisters! Twins and triplets to run in Rio marathon

Fri Aug 12, 2016 3:55am EDT
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By Mark Trevelyan

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - To have identical twins in the same Olympic event is rare. To have identical triplets, extraordinary. And to have one set of each competing in the same race is frankly off the scale.

But that is what will happen on Sunday in Rio when Germany's Anna and Lisa Hahner line up against Leila, Liina and Lily Luik of Estonia.

"People are going crazy!" said Leila on Thursday, reflecting on the media appetite for stories about the two sets of long-distance sporting sisters.

As the five women conducted rounds of media interviews within a few meters of each other on a rooftop terrace overlooking Rio de Janeiro, they discussed the strategy of sibling marathon running and the challenges for spectators and opponents in telling them apart.

"I think it is a great advantage to have a twin sister because we can support each other and we always think it means we have a double chance of having a good result," said Anna Hahner. "We encourage each other, push each other..."

"And we are just enjoying it together," Lisa completed the sentence.

The 26-year-old Germans, from a small village near Fulda, northeast of Frankfurt, will be competing in the same marathon for only the third time. Normally one runs while the other helps with preparation and interviews and supplies water during the race.

Anna has already run one Rio marathon last year, an experience that might help both of them as they drive themselves through the pain of the 42.2 km (26 miles, 385 yards) in temperatures forecast to reach 28 Celsius (82 Fahrenheit).   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Athletics - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 11/08/2016. Marathon runners from Germany, identical twins (L-R) Anna and Lisa Hahner. REUTERS/Mark Trevelyan