There was just 0.005 seconds between Amy and Lily Harding-Delooze at the finish line of the 800 metre event at the Australian Schools Athletics Championships.
The photo finish at the Adelaide event at 2 minutes 9 seconds was part of a strong season that has landed the twins, in Year 11 students at St Clare’s College Waverley, a place at the Commonwealth Youth Games.
Amy will also compete in the 1500 metre event at the Games, held in Samoa form September 5 to 11. She is currently ranked first in Australia in the event in the Under 18’s category with a time of 4 minutes 21 seconds. The pair train with coach Ken Green, and run up to 90 kilometres a week.
“We train with a very experienced middle-distance squad,” Amy said. “There are a lot of older girls who are elite athletes who have gone to world championships and to the Olympics before so it’s good to get advice from them. It’s also good to be among girls who are tactical. Every race is different so it’s good to have that strategic thinking when you’re going into a race.”
The twins celebrated their 18th birthday in August with places at the Catholic Girls Secondary Schools Sports Championships. They are aiming to compete at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, and the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. First they will balance HSC study with training for a spot at the World Junior Athletics Championships next year.
“A lot of the girls in our group did their HSC while going for the same things so we think it’s achievable to do both,” Lily said. “Most are going for a spot at the next Olympic Games in Rio, so It’s good to have the motivation from the other athletes in our squad.” Amy said having strong role models within their squad was helpful. “It helps a lot because you see when we’re training together that they’re not going too hard, they’re sensible about it.” she said.
A friendly sibling rivalry is another secret to the twins’ success. “It’s really good to be able to train together,” Lily said. “We push each other along.”