Meet the twins Boomers’ star Joe Ingles left behind to chase Olympic Games glory in Rio

Green and gold: Renae Ingles with twins Milla and Jacob. Photo: Justin McManus Meet the Twingles – the 25-day-old twins of Boomers veteran Joe Ingles who he parted with just 36 hours after they were born.
Nanjing Night Net

When his babies smiled at him, he went to Rio.

In a Melbourne hospital, just two days after wife and Australian netballer Renae Ingles gave birth to twins Jacob and Milla, the Australian basketballer said his emotional goodbyes in pursuit of an Olympic medal.

“That was a pretty sad goodbye for him and I, and also saying bye to the twins,” Renae told Fairfax Media after Australia’s quarter-final victory against Lithuania.

“But at least he had got to hold them for 36 hours and had some sleepless nights because he got up with all the feeds with me because he wanted to be part of all of it. It was so hard to say goodbye, but it’s part of what we do.

“But we’re looking forward to him getting back, hopefully with a medal around his neck. I told him enjoy your time over there, because when you get back you won’t be having much sleep, so enjoy what you’re getting over there.”

Fresh ink on his wrist with his kids’ names and birthday act as a constant reminder of the sacrifice Ingles has made to be part of the Boomers’ Olympic campaign with a tight-knit group of Australian basketballers.   25.7.16 – I will forever have your backsA photo posted by Joe Ingles (@joeingles7) on Jul 25, 2016 at 11:18pm PDT

He’s missed a whole range of firsts. Their first time at home. Their first bath.

But there is a silver lining to having to wake up in the early hours of the morning to attend to the twins.

“I’m up a lot of the night feeding, so that’s a great time to be able to chat to him or watch the games,” Renae said.

“He Facetimes us every single day to get up an update on the kids and make sure they’re hearing his voice. We’re making sure he doesn’t miss anything. He saw their first bath on video, and has been bombarded with photos and videos to see everything that happens.

“I have to say it’s made it a lot easier the Olympics is on all night. It’s given me something to watch and follow. Yeah it’s hard, but gosh it’s worth it. It’s the most amazing thing in the world. Joe and I were talking about it a couple of days ago and this is certainly our greatest achievement, bringing in two healthy kids into our lives as part of our family.”

Renae, who is at home with the support of her mother, insists she never expected her husband to pull out of the Olympic Games.

They were hopeful the twins would arrive in time for Joe to meet them before departing on Australia’s medal quest, but Renae is adamant she never wanted her husband to miss out on the Rio Games.

“To be honest there wasn’t a question in either of our minds,” she said.

“Obviously Joe wanted to make sure I was comfortable with it but there wasn’t a question in my mind or even a decision to be made. It’s the Olympics – his third Olympics – and he is very passionate about representing his country. The question didn’t even come to my mind.

“I knew I had great support back here so I wasn’t worried at all. Our biggest stress was that we really wanted it to happen before he left so he would at least be able to hold the kids for a couple of days before leaving. I was never ever considering he would stay home, nor was I expecting that either.”   The countdown is on.. Less than 12 hours until Dad kicks off his 3rd Olympic Campaign!! GO BOOMERS! #7olympics #Rio2016 #goingforgold #twingles #jacobmillaA photo posted by Renae Ingles (Hallinan) (@renaeingles) on Aug 5, 2016 at 10:40pm PDT

Joe, who was part of the Boomers’ bonding trip in San Diego in February, will return to Melbourne to spend time with his wife and children for less than a month after the Olympics before travelling back to Salt Lake City for the NBA pre-season with the Utah Jazz.

Renae plans to return to the netball court this season but the couple have decided to hold off on discussing how they will juggle family life and their respective sporting careers.

“Joe and I will have those conversations once he gets back from the Olympics,” she said.

“I want him to stay in the Olympic space and not worry about all of that at the moment. But with netball heading into a new stage with an all-Australian league next year, there will be no international travel, which makes my decision a little bit easier because I know it’s just travelling around Australia.

“For us it’s about family first and foremost but we’ll make a decision around what will suit all four of us. I’m very passionate about the sport of netball and my career and would love to go back into that space and be part of the new league as well.”

But for now, Renae has got her hands full juggling a late night Olympic schedule and the feeding habits of her newborn children.

“It’s been full on but I’m absolutely loving it,” Renae said.

“Everybody has warned me and tried to prepare me for the exhaustion. Days are OK but that exhaustion during the night is obviously really hard. But then when you look down into their cute little faces, it certainly makes it all worth it.”

The Boomers will take on Serbia in the semi-final (Saturday, 8am AEST), for a place in the gold medal match on Monday morning.

Follow all the action from 8am on our live blog.

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