• Id: 45237

Together forever for Beach Volleyball twins?

Fin Twins
Beach Volleyball twins Erika and Emilia Nystrom of Finland. David Ramos/Getty Images
The Beach Volleyball tournament at Baku 2015 features no fewer than three sets of twins

Beach Volleyball pairs often describe their close-knit partnership as being akin to a marriage. But for three pairs at the Baku 2015 European Games, a different familial relationship brings both extra rewards and extra challenges. They are twins.

Any sporting duo can relate to the issues of differing personalities, how to react to one another during difficult moments on court, and how to spend virtually all their time together without driving each other crazy.

But all three pairs ultimately agree that despite the difficult moments that can arise on and off the court, playing together as twins gives extra meaning to their beach volleyball journey.

"Our relationship as twins is getting better, especially on court from a psychological point of view," said Paolo Ingrosso who partners brother Matteo for Italy.

"In the last tournaments we have played in, we saw how much we are growing up. We are realising how important is to be very patient and calm, and we understand each other immediately when we make eye contact."

Finland's Emilia Nystrom relishes the considerable time she spends with her sister Erika on the women's tour.

"It's nice, we are friends and we are never alone," Emilia said. "We keep each other company all the time, it's family, it's easy."

Iryna Makhno of the Ukraine plays on the women's tour with her sister Inna, and admits that their relationship mixes family pride with typical sister squabbling.

"One advantage is victory that you get for your family, another one is a prize which is beneficial for our family too," Iryna said. "A disadvantage is that you can get angry and say something bad to your sister that she can get offended, but you can’t tell it to another one. Because you know that she is your sister and she will understand you."

While the three sets of twins have much in common, the future of their respective on-court partnerships could turn out to be quite different.

The Ukrainian twins exited the tournament after the pool phase on Wednesday. Their on-court partnership has not always gone smoothly, and they were only reunited as a pair this season.

"At the early period when we started together, the coach separated us, because we were younger and were arguing, and didn’t understand a lot of things," said Iryna.

"Actually, it depends on the results we make together. If it’s not going well, a coach changes partners for better results."

The Ingrosso twins have toyed with the idea of separating, but it appears that their bond as brothers and team-mates is too strong, and they have started well at Baku 2015.

The Nystroms, meanwhile, are committed to each other to the end. "No chance," Emilia said when asked if she would consider switching partners. "We made a promise to each other."

Erika agreed: "It's only us or nothing."


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