Who are the Gadirova twins’ parents? Family of GB gymnasts revealed

Bruno Cooke August 2, 2021
Who are the Gadirova twins’ parents? Family of GB gymnasts revealed
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images


Gymnast twin sisters Jennifer and Jessica Gadirova are just 16 but have already made British Olympics history, taking bronze in the team event and not far off the podium in the individual version – so, who are the Gadirova twins’ parents?

Who are Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova?

Born 3 October 2004 in Dublin, the Gadirova sisters are artistic gymnasts and Olympic medalists. 

Despite being born in Ireland, they represented Great Britain at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. 

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Ireland, incidentally, has so far won one gold medal at Tokyo – rowers Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy coming first in the men’s lightweight double sculls on 29 July. Team GB currently has 11 gold medals.

The Gadirovas’ gymnastic careers began in earnest in 2016. That year, Jennifer competed at the English Championships and won the Christine Bowker Artistry Trophy. Also in 2016, Jessica placed 12th in the all-round and sixth on the balance beam at the British Espoir Championships.

Who are the Gadirova twins’ parents?

Jennifer and Jessica Gadirova have Azeri parents – Natig and Iona – and have previously spoken about the possibility of representing Azerbaijan in competitions.

Their father, Natig Gadirova, spoke to Azerbaijani news portal Haqqin.az in April this year about the girls’ heritage, as well as their efforts and successes.

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He said in 2001 – three years before they had the twins – he and the girls’ mother Iona moved to London. He added: “In 2004, we moved to Dublin for a few months for work. As a result, the girls now have Irish and British citizenships. And I’m a citizen of Azerbaijan.”

The twins lived in Coventry from 2008 to 2013. They completed their GCSEs at a school in Buckinghamshire.

What is their relationship with Azerbaijan?

While Natig often visits Baku to see his parents and other relatives, the Gadirova twins have so far been unable to.

On the notion they might one day compete for Azerbaijan, Jennifer said: “Right now all our thoughts are about the British team and continuing our education here but anything is possible in the future.”

What about their grandparents?

The Gadirova twins’ paternal grandparents live in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. 

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Their grandmother is a retired paediatrician, while their grandfather is a professor in physics and mathematics.

However, less is known publicly about their mother, Iona, and the third sister of the family. Regular babysitter Sarah Simpson told the Coventry Telegraph last week she used to call them “the cheeky twins”.

Since spotting them on television, she said: “We saw them sticking their tongues out at the cameras during interviews, so they’re still exactly the same!”

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or onurbicycle.com.