- LIINA, LEILA & LILY LUIK
These identical triplets from Estonia have indeed come a long way. Born one month premature thirty years ago, the long distance runners, who only began to take running seriously six years ago, are now at the verge of making history by becoming the first ever set of triplets to compete at the Summer or Winter Olympics.
“We have been active since childhood, we love dancing, we love to be active and this pushed us to professional sports”, Lily said. Coincidentally, Leila who is the oldest of the three also has the fastest time of the trio with her Personal Best (PB) of 2:37.11. Liina is next in line both in terms of age and time, having a lifetime’s best of 2:39:42.
The youngest of them all, Lily, is 3rd with 2:40:30. In 2011, Liina claimed two National titles in the 10,000m and Half-marathon, while Leila did same in the Marathon. In 2014 they became the first triplets in history to compete in a European Championships when they ran in Zurich; it was also their first time of running the marathon together.
They thereafter set their sights on the Olympic Games in Rio, and opened a Facebook page tagged ‘Trio to Rio’ in order to garner support ahead of the Games. All three of them have all qualified for the Marathon in Rio, and hope to complete the race together.
When asked if they expected to bring a medal home from Rio, the trio responded: “It would be great … it’s like our dream, and we know that we have to live in reality. It is very hard to compete against the Kenyan runners. We are not at the same kind of level as they are now, but in two or three years we can do that.”
Photo Credit: Reuters