London: Fans at the European championships could be forgiven for thinking they were seeing double during men`s 400 metres heats when identical Belgian twins Jonathan and Kevin Borlee won their races.
Jonathan is the fastest man in Europe this season in the event with a best time of 44.77 seconds and Kevin also has realistic hopes of winning a medal.
Asked if he thought they were favourites, Kevin, the younger of the two by five minutes, replied: "He must be!”
"Yeah we have a good chance to do something good here and with the 4x4 (relay) too.”
"We have a lot of help from our family. We`ll just try to stay focused on the championship and we see what can happen in the final.”
"I hope it`s one of us," he told reporters.
Kevin was the first brother on the track and did just enough to win his heat in 45.71 in blazing sunshine.
His time was 0.2 second quicker than Belgian record holder Jonathan but Kevin said there was no rivalry between them.
"No not at all... he`s my brother. I prefer to see him in front of me than another guy so that`s okay," he said after watching Jonathan win the second heat on a television screen.
Twins have competed at major athletics championships before. Sweden`s Susanna Kallur won the European 100 metres hurdles title in 2006 and her sister Jenny finished seventh.
The 22-year-old Borlee brothers are practically inseparable, training and socialising together and sharing a hotel room for the championships.
"We are almost always together. We train and always did that since we were little kids," Kevin said.
Athletics is a family affair for the Borlees. The twins are trained by their father Jacques, a former international 400 metres runner, and older sister Olivia helped Belgium to the 4x100 relay silver at the 2008 Olympics.
The men`s 400 semi-finals are on Wednesday and the final is on Friday.