Like Polgar sisters of chess, athletics have Luik sisters. Estonians Leila, Liina and Lily Luik are identical triplets and two of them are in Kochi to take part in the inaugural Cochin International Half Marathon slated to be held on Sunday.
“Lily wanted to run here, but she was forced to stay back at home after getting injured,” Leila explained to those searching for the absent third sister. With the temperature dropping to sub-zero levels in their country, the sisters have devised an escape route, via India, to Kenya where the conditions are optimal for long-distance running.
“The climate here is almost similar to that of Kenya and is good for marathons. Also, the streets are crowded with people and vehicles,” the sisters said.
Leila has a personal best of 73.58 in half marathons, with Liina not far behind, and the sisters are willing to push each other in major events. But on Sunday, Leila says, they are going to enjoy the run and will stay close to each other for much of the race.
Luiks have won several national competitions and marathons at home since 2010 and have started to make a mark in the international competitions lately. But, to achieve their ultimate dream of representing Estonia in the 2016 Olympics at Rio de Janeiro, they know they still have a lot of miles to cover.
Edgar de Veer, the race director, joked that chest numbers for the two will come in handy to avoid confusion during the run. Perhaps, that will indeed be the case for the onlookers when the sisters take to the tracks for the half marathon.