Estonian sisters Leila, Liina and Lily, 30, are believed to be the : first identical triplets to compete against each other in the tournament’s 120-year history. So the Luik family shall three chances at gold in the same event at the Olympics in Rio.
The Luiks were caught posing for pictures and interviews at the Olympic village in Rio de Janeiro on friday, as they prepared for their big day. Incredibly the three siblings only took up serious distance running six years ago – when they were 24 years old. Liina, who got the sisters into running, said that long-distance running appealed to them more than the ‘highly technical’ nature of sprinting.After a couple of years, they realised they were good enough to take part in international competitions and from there, they decided to try for the Olympics.Recalling the chain of events, Lily said: ‘We saw … after one year we had good results in Estonia and we thought we could achieve something good also outside of Estonia and to do some big competitions like European Championships and the Olympic Games.’ In competition, the sisters say they support each other emotionally and even in race tactics, such as taking it in turns to act as wind breakers.
The sisters live separately in Estonia and sometimes have to train apart. But they regularly spend winters together at a high-altitude training camp in Kenya, and they appear to enjoy each other’s company, chatting away while running. Despite their determination, the triplets are not favoured to end up on the podium at Rio. Leila, the oldest of the triplets, has the fastest personal best at 2:37.12, set in Shanghai in 2013. She is followed by Liina, whose personal best is 2 minutes and 30 seconds slower and Lily, the youngest, who is a further 45 seconds back. This is in contrast with the London Olympic record 2012 of 2: 23.7 by Kenya superstar Tiki Gelana
But it’s not about winning for the triplets. All three say their main goal for the Rio games is to finish together, set personal bests and to cross the finish line with a smile.
The threesome from Tartu, will take part in the women’s marathon on Sunda