surinenglish

The Hulland sisters take a leap

Jasmine, with the Spanish Championship medal and Lily, with the British one on the track at Ronda.
Jasmine, with the Spanish Championship medal and Lily, with the British one on the track at Ronda. / SUR
  • Lily and Jasmine are from Malaga and compete with Nerja Atletismo - but have British nationality

  • The older sister competes internationally with Great Britain and leads the current under-20s ranking in the triple jump, and the younger just came third in Spain's under-18s

At home they speak English, but despite their names, Lily and Jasmine are from Malaga. “We were born here and have lived here all our lives, so we can say that we are from Malaga,” says Lily, the oldest by 15 months.

Their story in Spain began when their parents, from Manchester and regular tourists on the Costa del Sol, decided to move to Marbella, where their two daughters were born. Years later, looking to move house, their mother and her two daughters moved to Ronda, where they currently live. While the head of the family travels everyday throughout the province with her own home interiors company, Lily and Jasmine study and train at the athletics track in Ronda.

Although they have occasional sibling arguments, they are joint at the hip and spend the majority of their time together. Lily is 17 years old (18 this September) and competes at under-20 level, while Jasmine, who is 16 years old (17 at the end of the year), is in the under-18 category.

Despite starting to run very early, their real talent was the jumps. “We began doing cross country and we tried the triple jump later. In my case, I had never done any other sports before because I am really bad at them,” the older sister jokes. The younger one explained: “I’m the same, I got into athletics a little later, seeing that my sister really enjoyed it. I used to do swimming and rhythmic gymnastics, but I opted for this.”

The right decision

This proved to be a good decision. The first time that Lily competed in the triple jump was only three years ago (in 2016) and Jasmine two years ago (in 2017). Today the former holds the under-18 and under-20 (as an under-18) record for Andalucía, she came 12th in the European under 18s (last year), she was runner-up in the GB under 20s, leads the under-20s rankings both in Britain and in Spain and her score (13.16 metres) is the sixth best this year in Europe.

Her little sister is following in her footsteps, albeit with fewer competitions under her belt. Jasmine finished in the top ten in the Spain under-18 championships, with a distance of 12.18 metres, she was champion in the Andalusian indoor championships and came third in Spain's under-18s.

International ambitions

These Malaga girls are already both competing with the Cueva de Nerja -UMA and as with all great athletes, they have their sights set internationally: either a World Championships or the Olympic Games.

However, when it comes to competing internationally, they represent Great Britain as both have British nationality. In the case of Lily, when she moves to the under-20s, she will no longer be able to compete in Andalusian or Spanish championships and will therefore have to do it in the UK. That's why while Jasmine was winning bronze at the Spanish U-18 championship, her older sister was winning U-20 gold 2,400 kilometres away.

"I have thought about applying for the Spanish nationality, but the procedures are very slow and I would lose the opportunity to compete at international level in that time. Having already competed with GB, we would have to wait two years to switch allegiances," explains Lily.

Intensive studies

What's more, next academic year she will be starting of the best UK university according to The Times, Loughborough. There she will study Art and Design after getting 12.2 out of 14 in the Baccalaureate.

Meanwhile, Jasmine, who studies science and is a lover of astrophysics, will begin second year of her Baccalaureate next year, later seeking to study Physics at university.

However, despite their demanding studies and schedules, they both want to keep fighting to carve out a future for themselves in international athletics.