Date: Thursday, 30 May 2019

Spectators may do a double take when watching twin sisters Tyla and Natalie Green compete for the New Zealand Under-19 Oceania Track Cycling team.

The identical twins from Winton, are 17-year-old Central Southland College students with aspirations of reaching the elite level in cycling. They have been competition riders since trying track cycling out as a possible interest five years ago. Some coaches noticed them on the track and suggested they think about taking up the sport.  

It doesn't happen so much these days but at cycling carnivals in the past the identical sisters would often be called by the other's name. A few of their mutual friends have got it wrong occasionally.

"Tyla won at the nationals in Cambridge in February and one of her mates congratulated me ... I told him, I'm not Tyla," Natalie said.

"Even Dad gets us mixed up from time-to-time." 

Tyla said she and Natalie were hoping to pick up a medal at the Oceania Championships in Invercargill on October 16-19.  

"We [New Zealand] have a really strong team ... we'll perform well as a team." 

Identical twins Natalie, left, and Tyla Green are in the New Zealand Under-19 Oceania cycling team.

The team's head coach, Sid Cumming, of Invercargill, has been coaching the sisters at different levels for two or three years but it took him six months to distinguish Tyla from Natalie. 

"They are eager to improve themselves," Cumming said.

"They are responsive to challenge and don't question things."

Both girls are in their second year at the Southern Performance Hub, at which Cumming is head coach.

The twins will be in action at the opening round of the National Track Series at the Invercargill velodrome on Friday to Sunday. Tyla is a sprint rider, while Natalie specialises in endurance racing.

Funding from the Blair Vining Foundation and the Jimmy Fowler Foundation, of Winton, have helped both girls achieve goals in cycling.

Article and photo courtesy STUFF

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