Four's a charm for Chile
Siblings are quite common in the sport of rowing. It usually happens that older starts first and the younger tags along a few years later. There have even been a number of famous twins who have rowed together over the years. But quadruplets, four siblings born on the same day, does not come around so often - if ever.
Chilean quadruplets Alfredo, Antonia, Ignacio and Melita Abraham are not only all rowers, they are also all competing in the World Rowing Junior Championships in Hamburg, Germany. The two brothers, Alfredo and Ignacio, are in the Chilean men’s quadruple sculls, while the two sisters are rowing together in the women’s pair.
With four Abraham siblings competing, one might think the siblings come from a family line of rowers, but you would be mistaken. “Sport was given to us from our family, it is a great gift,” says Melita. The four of them laugh while saying that sport was always important in their family, but never rowing. Their mother was a South American Champion in the shot put (athletics) and encouraged her children to participate. Ignacio was the first to try rowing, mainly because a friend asked him if he wanted to come along. “One week later, they (Afredo, Antonia and Melita) all came to try,” he says, smiling.
“At first it was just recreational, we were ten years old when we started. But then it became more and more competitive,” Ignacio explains. It is even competitive between the four of them. “Rowing is all that we talk about,” says Melita. “About our times, about training, about the ergometer, everything.”
Melita and Antonia row together in the women’s pair and after finishing the World Rowing Junior Championships they will continue on to race in the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China. In the boat they seem to have found a nearly identical rhythm. “We definitely fight, but we also have an advantage. We understand each other, we have a connection, so it is easier for us to row together,” says Antonia.
However, an outing with the four of them together was not as successful. “We tried it one time for fun, but after 100m we had to turn around because we were fighting so much,” laughs Ignacio. “Melita definitely has the strongest personality, she is the oldest by one minute, but mine (personality) is pretty strong as well.”
Despite the fighting, the four young Chileans have learned how to support each other through the ups and downs. “Sometimes we fight, but sometimes we motivate each other,” Melita says. “Our parents are very supportive as well, they are always watching online to see how we do.”
When asked if they watch each other’s races, the four responded, “yes, always.”
Melita and Antonia will race in the final of the women's pair on Sunday. Ignacio and Alfredo missed out on the semifinal of the men's quadruple sculls when they finished 0.49 seconds behind the qualifying spot in the quarterfinals. They will race in semifinal C/D on Saturday.