Track and field twins

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After hearing that the Robertson twins from New Zealand both qualified for the Moscow World Championships, SPIKES has picked out five other great athlete twins, and predicted three more for the future…

Dionsio and Domingos Castro (Portugal)

"You have to bleed for Castro" cried the BBC’s legendary TV commentator David Coleman at the end of the 1988 Olympic 5000m final. He was referring to Domingos Castro’s brave pursuit of the eventual gold medallist John Ngugi of Kenya. He faded in the latter stages to be cruelly denied a medal by the German duo Dieter Baumann (West Germany) and Hansjorg Kunze (East Germany) in the final strides.

Domingos’ biggest achievement was winning a 5000m silver medal at the 1987 Rome World Championships, and he was good enough to appear in four Olympic Games in distances from 5000m to the marathon. His twin brother, Dioniso, never won a major championship medal (he placed fourth in the 5000m at the 1990 European Championships) but he did achieve something his sibling never did by setting a world record, albeit in the rarely run distance of 20,000m in 1990.

Susanna and Jenny Kallur (Sweden)

The former junior international gymnasts lit up the track with their sprint hurdle accomplishments during the mid-noughties. Jenny, the older of the sisters by four minutes, landed a silver medal in the 60m hurdles at the 2005 European Indoor Championships but it was her twin, Susanna who enjoyed the greater success on the international stage.

Susanna captured the 2006 European 100m hurdles title in front of her adoring home fans in Gothenburg, and two years later set a world indoor 60m hurdles record of 7.68, which still stands today.

The daughters of former Stanley Cup ice hockey champion Anders, the Kallur twins have been bedevilled with injury issues. Jenny retired in 2011 to take up a career as an advertising copywriter while Susanna, who has not competed since 2010, had a metal spike inserted in her shin last year in her latest attempt to return to competition.

Jonathan and Kevin Borlee (Belgium)

'Together We Run Faster' boasts the Borlee's family website, and the incredible Belgian athletics family certainly have plenty to boast about. 400m brothers Jonathan and Kevin are probably the most high profile twins in the sport today. In last year’s Olympic 400m final, Kevin finished fifth, just 0.02 and one place ahead of Jonathan.

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Although Jonathan is the faster twin, with a national record 44.43 (0.13 quicker than his brother), Kevin has the superior competitive record, with European 400m gold in 2010 and world 400m bronze in Daegu two years ago.

That’s not all for the Borlee family. Older sister Olivia won 4x100m silver at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, while younger brother, Dylan, 20, is a rising 400m sprinter with a best of 45.80, fast enough for second at Sunday’s national championships.

The Belgian 4x400m team in Moscow will likely feature Jonathan, Kevin and Dylan. Oh, and they are all coached by dad, Jacques.

Me’Lisa and Mikele ‘Miki’ Barber (USA)

The New Jersey-born sprint twins have made their mark internationally for around the past decade or so. Me’Lisa broke through into top-class first, winning world gold medals in the 4x100m at the 2003 and 2005 championships. She then blitzed to 60m gold at the 2006 World Indoor Championships, and the following year posted a 100m lifetime best of 10.95.

Although Me’Lisa struggled to replicate that form, Miki, whose 100m personal best stands at 11.02, enjoyed her best season in 2007, winning the Pan American 100m title and world 4x100m gold as part of the USA team. Me’Lisa has started her own jewellery line.

Kipkoech Cheruiyot and Charles Cheruiyot (Kenya) 

The Cheruiyot twins played their small part in the rising status of Kenyan endurance running back in the 1980s. Kipkoech specialised in the 1500m, defeating future world record holder for the distance, Morocco’s Said Aouita to gold at the 1982 African Championship. The following year he set a world junior 1500m record of 3:34.92 and later finished seventh in the 1988 Olympic final in Seoul, behind compatriot Peter Rono. He also landed the 1500m gold medal at the 1989 World University Games.

His twin, Charles, excelled more over 5000m.  He set a lifetime best of 13:18.41 to finish sixth over the distance at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, and clinched 5000m silver at the 1989 World University Games in Duisburg.

And what about three sets of athletics twins for the future?

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When Mo Farah won 5000m and 10,000m Olympic gold in London, his daughter Rhianna and wife Tania watched on heavily pregnant with twin girls. Let’s hope some of the Super Saturday magic rubbed off on Aisha and Amani, who were born 13 days after their dad’s 5000m triumph. Could they represent Team GB at the 2036 Olympics?

Two-time Olympic 400m hurdles champion Angelo Taylor has the pedigree and then some. So watch out for his eight-year-old twin boys Xavier and Isaiah making their mark in the future. We reckon they’ll be reaching their prime in time for the 2028 Olympic Games.

The 2011 world 400m hurdles champ Lashinda Demus gave birth to twin boys, Dontay and Duaine in June 2007. They could well provide some one-lap competition for the Taylor boys.