Behind the Hawk: Shoaib and Sohaib Ikram

Rookie cross-country standouts Sohaib and Shoaib Ikram have enjoyed a tremendous amount of success in their short time as Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks.

This success is not unfamiliar to these identical twins as they have been dominating the sport since they were young.

The brothers, who live in Waterloo and are originally from Pakistan, began running at the age of 11 when they took part in a race consisting of 150 runners; they both finished in the top five.

Soon after their 15th birthdays, they quit all other sports to train for competitive running.

Less than a year later, their dream of being successful runners almost ended when they were both diagnosed with a blood disorder called anemia that severely affected their training.

“Imagine running a car with no fuel,” said Sohaib, when describing the disease.

“Luckily, my appendix popped and the blood tests showed a decreased amount of hemoglobin in my blood.”

The absence of an average amount of hemoglobin resulted in physical tiredness that lasted for a year and a half before they were able to train again. Sohaib and Shoaib went on to compete provincially for cross-country in their final year of high school.

They finished third and fourth respectively and were named male athletes of the year at Waterloo Collegiate Institute.

The decision to bring their talent to Laurier had a lot to do with first-year Laurier cross country head coach Peter Grinbergs. Grinbergs has worked with the twins for the past three years at the Tri-City Track Club in Waterloo.

“Peter’s coached Olympians before. I’m not saying I’m going to be in the Olympics, but Pete’s a phenomenal coach,” said Shoaib.

Shoaib, who is majoring in physics, and Sohaib, an economics major, had a very successful 2009 season with the Hawks’ cross country team as rookies.

“We’ve been successful so far this season, but we still want to do better,” explained Shoaib.

The twins finished first and second on their team in every race but one, and both received Laurier athlete of the week honours in October. The highlight of their season was when they finished first and second at the Badger Cross Country Open.

“[With] 100 [meters] to go, Shoaib is ahead of me. I ask him if he wants to tie in the race and then [with] two meters left to go, I sprinted past him for the victory,” joked Sohaib.

Despite their success, the twins aren’t satisfied with their accomplishments thus far and have set high expectations for themselves in their remaining three years at Laurier.

“The goal is to get an OUA title, a CIS title and to build the Laurier program,” said Sohaib.
The Ikram brothers will now have their sights set on track, as they begin training for Wilfrid Laurier’s track and field team next month.

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