Tokyo Olympics: Tiffany Porter and Cindy Sember chasing the ultimate comeback prize

TOKYO (BBC): Sisters Cindy Sember and Tiffany Porter are both hoping each other does well at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics – but there’s a palpable sense of competition between them.

The British hurdling pair, who are based in Michigan in the United States, speak lovingly of their shared pride in the face of adversity and in light of a major life change – Sember rupturing her Achilles in 2017 and Porter becoming a mother in 2019.

They are evidently relishing being on their journey in the sport side by side. However, a natural rivalry remains.

“We’re competitors so my goal is always to beat her like everyone else but I of course want her to do well, too – I’m so proud of her returning so well,” explained 26-year-old Sember. “It’s anybody’s day with the hurdles but I have more confidence than ever before so I am going for gold.”

Meanwhile, 33-year-old Porter – mother to 22-month-old Chidera, added: “I train to win and God willing, I’ll stay healthy and make the team at the British trials [in Manchester at the end of June]. I was so proud of clawing back to an elite level after having my daughter.”

The sisters were born and raised in the United States but have held British passports since birth because of their mother’s nationality. Training partners in the 100m hurdles under the watchful eye of Porter’s American husband Jeff – himself a two-time Olympic hurdler – they believe their unique partnership can propel them to Olympic glory in Japan come August.

“It would be amazing to make another Olympic team together, especially as we’ve both been through so much in the past few years,” said Sember, who claimed a breakthrough fourth place at the Rio 2016 Games ahead of elder sister Porter in seventh. Their close bond was clear for all to see when Sember won 60m hurdles silver and Porter took the bronze at March’s European indoor Championships.
“I knew athletes don’t tend to come back from that injury in the way I did and Tiffany had trying times after becoming a mother, so to medal together was an experience we can’t put into words,” said Sember.

Porter’s pride is clear too, saying of her younger sister: “I’m so proud of Cindy running stellar times as her story is so special, coming back from what many thought was a career-ending injury – trusting in her training and in herself to now be running the best she’s ever run.
There’s a lot of inspiration in her story.

“There’s so much potential there, I’m excited to see how her career unfolds. She forces me to up my game.”