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Amazing Example of Sporting Siblings

by | Jun 3, 2024

by Hubsport Online | June 3rd, 2024


News and Stories by Nino Severino


Over the last few weeks, I have had my attention drawn to the amazing examples of sporting siblings, and what an extraordinary phenomenon they are. Looking at this subject it’s really important to understand the percentages of actually one child growing up to be a sporting superstar, let alone two! If you take the sport, I spent so many years in, tennis, it’s literally millions to one that your child would make the professional tour, let alone one day becoming Grand Slam Champions. The fact that somehow, some families nurture, support, fund and find a way to produce two great sporting stars in the same family is simply mind blowing!

I mentioned tennis, the sport I know so well, and of course there are two very high-profile siblings who have literally rocked the world of sport, let alone tennis, their names are Venus and Serena Williams. Between them their combined major honours are simply staggering, 6x Australian Open, 3x French Open, 12x Wimbledon, 8x US Open (singles); 4x Australian Open, 2x French Open, 6x Wimbledon, 2x US Open (doubles); 2x Olympic gold medal (singles); 3x Olympic gold medal (doubles). Add to this to the fact they grew up in a notorious, gang-ridden area of Los Angeles, and their legendary status because even more incredible. Of course, the man behind these two sisters is Mr Richard Williams, a man who had a vision for his girls, and committed his life to creating champions out of Venus and Serena. I have met Richard on a few occasions, and I must say, he is a thoroughly polite and positive person, humble and very sociable.

Hari Shukla, GB Archery, St Joseph's College

When you ask these incredible athletes what it’s like to have a sibling to live the sporting life with, they will often talk about an inseparable experience, the want and need to be with their brother or sister through all their training and competitive lives. And often they choose their sport to be close to their sibling in a very conscious way, they may both begin in different sports, but then as time goes on, they chose to take the same sporting pathway.

Here at home, we have great examples of sporting siblings, if we go old school, we must talk about the Charlton brothers, very different characters, but both incredibly tough, intelligent, rugged, resilient and above all, extremely skilful. Their achievements are World class, 10x British Home Championship, 1x European Cup, 4x First Division, 2x FA Cup, 1x League Cup, but of course, the most impressive achievement of all, was the fact that both reached their sporting pinnacle as members of the Word beating England team of 1966.

Hari Shukla, GB Archery, St Joseph's College

Focusing on the modern-day GB sporting siblings, we can proudly boast the Brownlee brothers, Alistair and Jonny who have already, combined produced a list of honours any athlete would be proud of, 2x Olympic gold medal, 1x Olympic silver medal, 1x Olympic bronze medal and 9x Triathlon World Championships gold medal. Closer to home at our Hub base, in the region of East Anglia, I have discovered not only siblings, but twins, a rarer example of sporting family success, their names are Tahjae and Taia Kersey, 9-year-old twins, but who are already making a massive name in the sport of Karate.

Hari Shukla, GB Archery, St Joseph's College

They came to my attention when their mother Leoni, herself a European Karate Champion approached me at The Hub, for support. They have recently added a haul of medals from the recent English Karate Championships held at the Leicester Arena, where across all the categories there were 1051 fighters. Tahjae and Taia Kersey dominated their 3 categories to both become double English Champions and silver medallists. 

I have mentioned the influence that Richard Williams, who was not actually a tennis player himself had on the lives of Venus and Serena, Tahjae and Taia, are in a better position than the legendary Williams sisters, as its safe to say, their mother Leoni, has a wealth of experience and achievements in their sport of karate. She has been in karate for 31 years and competed in her first National Championships at the age of 10. Leonie won her first English championship title at 14 and went on to become one of the best U21 England female karate athletes of all time. She is a former England Team Member and was the first and still only ever England U21 Female European Champion.  During her career her other major achievements included European Championships Silver medalist, 13 x English National Champion, 5 x British Champion and 5 x International Open Champion. In terms of sporting family phenomenon’s, this situation puts the Kersey family in the highest bracket, not only are the sibling’s twins, but their mother has also proved herself as a world class athlete in the same sport.

Hari Shukla, GB Archery, St Joseph's College

I had a very long and interesting chat with Leonie, she said, “I couldn’t be any prouder of my daughters and their achievements to date. To win an English Championship title is a tall order, so to make multiple finals has just blown me away. Looking back through the results over the years, I don’t believe that anybody under the age of 18 has made multiple National Finals, so for the twins to do it at such a young age is simply phenomenal. The girls already tell me that they want to win European, World and Olympic titles and my response is, they can do anything they put their minds too. Having my daughters have the same love, passions and desires for karate that I did at that age is the best feeling in the world. Being their coach as well as their mum gives me the privilege of sharing this karate journey with them wherever it may take them”.

Hari Shukla, GB Archery, St Joseph's College

Personally, I think we may have the equivalent of tennis’s Williams sisters, here in our region, I know for sure, my money is on both these girls becoming future global Karate stars!

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