Daily Routine: Five things to do - 2 May

Stay strong with Olympic Channel's top 5 things to try at home during lockdown this Saturday, including a double dose of real live sport.

Live sport is back!

Yes, really.

We've had virtual events but there's nothing quite like the real thing and today sees day two of the Exo Tennis event in Germany.

There's also table tennis with the Top of Austria Challenge taking place on Saturday night.

With countries around the world starting to ease lockdown measures, more events should start to spring up although the vast majority of these will be behind closed doors.

Meanwhile, top athletes are making the best of the current situation by using their imagination to keep up their training routine.

Here are our five things for today...

1) Tennis returns in Germany

The main tennis tours have been suspended for months due to COVID-19, but the small town of Hoehr-Grenzhausen is staging an event for players based in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate.

Dustin Brown, who once stunned Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon, is the best-known man in the field although Yannick Hanfman is the highest-ranked player at 143.

There are no ball boys or line judges with just the two players and chair umpire on the court for each televised match.

The clay-court tournament, comprising first-to-four games sets with no advantage scoring, comes to an end on Monday.

Brown and Hanfman scored two wins on Friday, and they'll be hoping to maintain their unbeaten records on Saturday.

After playing on Friday, Brown told Reuters, "It’s nice to finally play. It’s a little surreal to be honest, with everything that is actually going on in the world."

2) Table tennis is back too

Table tennis does not require nearly as much space as tennis and arranging a makeshift venue can be done at fairly short notice.

This is what has happened with the Top of Austria Challenge which will take place at the television centre of Austrian national broadcaster ORF in Vienna.

Reigning national champion Daniel Habesohn meets Stefan Fegerl in the men's encounter before Rio 2016 flagbearer and five-time Olympian Liu Jia faces 21-year-old Karoline Mischek.

Then comes a twist as the winners and losers play again, but with the women getting a six-point start on the men in each of the maximum five games.

Play gets underway at 20:00 CEST (18:00 UTC) and you can watch it live here.

Five-time Olympian Liu Jia plays in the Top of Austria Challenge on Saturday
Five-time Olympian Liu Jia plays in the Top of Austria Challenge on SaturdayFive-time Olympian Liu Jia plays in the Top of Austria Challenge on Saturday

3) Check out Riley's football skills

Definitely don't try this at home...

While at the Barca Academy, the youth programme of Spanish giants FC Barcelona, a youngster by the name of Riley has been going viral.

Here's why.

Even Barcelona great and Olympic gold medallist Lionel Messi would be proud of some of Riley's ball skills.

4) Find out how top athletes are dealing with lockdown

For double triathlon Olympic gold medallist Alistair Brownlee, the COVID-19 situation has added more uncertainty to his future plans.

He and younger brother Jonny, who took silver at Rio 2016 and bronze at London 2012, have been speaking to The Guardian about training and living during lockdown.

Jonny turned 30 on Thursday with his celebrations limited to "ordering a takeaway burger from his local pub in Yorkshire".

Current restrictions mean the pair cannot train together as normal but both are swimming with Alistair enjoying cycling on an indoor turbo trainer and racing against others on virtual platforms.

Alistair also talked about his attempts at the Ironman, following up his disappointing 21st at last October's World Championships in Hawaii before victory in Western Australia six weeks later.

He said, "I’m proud I turned it around pretty quick because Western Australia is a hard Ironman in the heat. My attention then switched to the Olympics. I was training as hard as I could for the short distances. Six weeks ago I was thinking: ‘I’m going well here. The Olympics could be on.’ And then the lockdown came."

On winning a third triathlon gold in Tokyo, Brownlee says, "That’s obviously the dream, but there’re a lot of challenges ahead."

While the Brownlees are all but assured of places in Tokyo next year, should they take them up, spare a thought for American track cyclist Mandy Marquardt.

The 28-year-old sprint specialist was almost certain to be named to her first Olympics, but the Games' postponement means she has to earn her place all over again.

While that is a challenge, Marquardt has been through tougher battles in her life.

At 16, she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes but credits her father with giving her the mental strength to overcome that news.

She told CNN: "It's always been in me to find a way to make things happen, and I really love competing, so I knew it was something I wanted to do."

As well as the common issues athletes are facing with training during COVID-19 measures, Marquardt also has to keep a close eye on her blood sugar levels.

"I want to eat everything in sight but that's not possible even though we're in quarantine. I still want to keep healthy diet and regulate my blood sugars." - Mandy Marquardt speaking to CNN

Indian javelin record holder Annu Rani had to return home from training in South Africa in March due to COVID-19 travel restrictions coming into force.

During her 14 days in quarantine at the National Institute of Sports in Patiala, a nationwide lockdown was imposed in India meaning Annu has had to stay there.

Training is not permitted, but the 27-year-old is keeping herself occupied.

She told the Hindustan Times, "There is a small area near our hostel. I jog for around 15-20 minutes and then do stepping for some time. I also do a few of the core exercises. There are some weights with us - so what exercises we have been advised to do - I am doing them to keep up my fitness levels.

"I watch videos of big players such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Michael Phelps. How they started the sport, and what struggles they faced in their careers, and how they got past through them. You get to learn a lot from learning about them."

A finalist at last year's World Championships in Doha, Annu also says she plans to continue focusing on sport even when the lockdown ends.

"I don’t plan to go home. I can go home anytime. My main target is just the Olympics. So, I will keep my focus on that, and I will follow whatever plans my coaches tell me to do." - Annu Rani speaking to the Hindustan Times

Annu Rani breached World Championships cut-off mark (61.50m) with a 62.43m throw at 2019 Federation Cup 
Annu Rani breached World Championships cut-off mark (61.50m) with a 62.43m throw at 2019 Federation Cup Annu Rani breached World Championships cut-off mark (61.50m) with a 62.43m throw at 2019 Federation Cup 

5) Learn from marathon master Eliud Kipchoge

One of the biggest stars in the world of athletics is marathon king Eliud Kipchoge.

The reigning Olympic champion and world record holder made history by running the first sub-two hour marathon in Vienna last October.

Olympic Channel caught up with the Kenyan recently and asked him about his plans and how he is dealing with the current situation.

Kipchoge still wants to inspire people, after his sub-two hour effort, and he remains as philosophical as ever, saying, "Marathon is like life. In marathon, we have flat courses, we have downhill courses.

"It's like a hilly course now. It is that time in marathon where we are really struggling to go up the hill."

Don't forget that there is other great content on Olympic Channel with the Classic Finals Channel and the Olympic Ceremonies Channel still going strong.

There's actually a Classic Final right now on Olympic Channel TV - Andy Murray, who won this week's virtual Madrid Open, against Juan Martin del Potro in the Rio 2016 men's singles gold medal match.

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