Born Partners: Twins and sibling sports stars

  • Asif M D Hajra
  • Publish Date: Aug 19 2018 9:59PM
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  • Updated Date: Aug 19 2018 9:59PM
Born Partners:  Twins and sibling sports stars

In sports world we find numerous siblings and twins athletes. It is exciting to see sibling athletes compete against another team or, at times, play against each other. But it is twice exciting to see twin athletes in the field. Twins - although rare, yet there are many of these partners from the womb, either competing with or complementing the other. While many twins and siblings have chosen the same sports, others have risen in different games and a few are miles apart in terms of their professions.  

When siblings are involved in sports in the childhood, especially the same sports, they compete for praise and attention from parents often to be recognized as the better athlete. Some siblings are jealous of each other and hold grudges while others show support and give encouragement. Competing in sport as teammates or opponents, there will always be a rivalry present which can be positive. It pushes them to become better athletes and teaches them how to handle conflict, cooperate, and manage frustration and aggression. Be it siblings born in different years or twins, both find 24x7 partners in each other. 

Here we have Ayeera Chisti and Ansa Chisti. Have you heard of Chisti sisters? This pair of upcoming star Wushu players of the J&K state are twins. While Ayeera won the first Gold medal for Jammu & Kashmir in the Sanshou girls event of the 17th Sub- Junior National Wushu Championship organized by the Wushu Association of J&K in March 2018, Ansa claimed a Bronze medal and that’s just the beginning. In football, the most famous siblings are Sajid Yousuf and Majid Yousuf – elder Sajid being Ex-national football coach (Women’s) and the younger one is in-charge (football) State Sports Council. In fact, in siblings Yousuf Dar (father of Majid and Sajid) and Wahab Dar, the family boasts of the most talented football duo of yesteryears.        

At the national level, cricketing all-rounders in Pandya brothers – Hardik and Krunal –have significantly contributed to IPL team Mumbai Indians become the most successful team in the IPL history. The duo were in the squad for the recent T-20 series in England and both have tons of talent to offer with both the ball (the only difference being the pace of delivery) and bat. 

In the recent past, Pathan brothers – Irfan and Yousuf – would hold their own brands of swing and hitting respectively. The success of Haryanvi Phogat siblings who are gold medalists in wrestling in different weight categories at the Commonwealth games, inspired producer Amir Khan to make ‘Dangal’ – first Indian film to gross $300 million worldwide.               

And globally, the most decorated being associated with lawn tennis are the William sisters - Venus and Serena Williams. In singles discipline, Serena has won a total of 72 titles including 23 grand slam titles, 1 summer Olympic title, 5 WTA Tour championships etc. Together, William sisters have also won 23 titles including 14 grand slams and 3 summer Olympics. And in mixed-doubles – another 2. 

Among twins, Bob Byran and Mike Bryan – the most successful doubles tennis pair of all time – are identical twin brothers. In lawn tennis history, holding the World No. 1 ranking for record 438 weeks, the duo has also enjoyed world number 1 ranking for a record 139 consecutive weeks. In singles, it is all about talent and in doubles, it is about partnership. 

Take football. We have the world-cup winning Charlton brothers - Bobby and Jack Charlton – who won the FIFA world cup together for England in 1966. Imagine 3 siblings and we have Boetang brothers – George, Kevin-Prince and Jerome Boateng – football’s intriguing brothers. The oldest (George) was said to be the most talented, the middle one (Kevin-Prince) has made the most headlines in world football and the youngest brother (Jerome) has won the World Cup and the Champions League. Likewise, Danish footballer siblings – Micheal and Brian Laudrup – competed alongside each other at the 1995 FIFA Confederations Cup. 

And Twins - Lars Bender and his twin brother Sven Bender are German footballers who play for Bayer Leverkusen in the German Bundesliga, besides being part of their country’s national team between 2011 to 2013. Besides, the twins were part of the German under-19 side that won the 2008 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship and were named jointly as players of the tournament. Defenders Fabio da Silva and Rafael da Silva– footballer twins from Brazil have played for their national team besides having played for top-notch football clubs in England. 

In cricket Kiwi pair of Jeoff and Martin Crowe are unforgettable and so are Akmal brothers of Pakistan. “Flower Power” in Grant and Andy Flower was the backbone of Zimbabwean batting for a decade, while Paul and Bryan Strang would offer a deadly combination of Right arm leg-break and Left-arm medium pace bowling to the Zimbabwean national team. Australian cricketers - Shaun and Mitchell Marsh – are already into the world of international cricket perfectly fitting into the footsteps of father Geoffry Mash, but sister Melissa, who sits between Shaun and Mitchell in age, also forged an impressive sporting career of her own in basketball.

After globetrotting (thanks to internet) I am back home busy training my 9+ twin sons – Eesa and Musa – in football and table tennis. They are rivals, jealous yet born partners. And I hope they are sports stars in offing! 

 

(The writer can be reached at asifmdhajra@outlook.com