Olympic Daily News: 13 June 2020

Get your daily update of Olympic news: Trivia, trends, and talking points. Lionel Messi returns to action in La Liga, Tokyo 2020 dreams are over for Japanese rugby star, and the tennis summer gets underway

By ZK Goh ·

On this day in 1956, Spanish football team Real Madrid and France's Stade de Reims met in Paris the final of the inaugural European Cup club football tournament.

Hector Rial scored twice for the team from Spain's capital as they won 4–3, the first of a record 13 titles.

Pretty apt, then, that the Spanish football league's first round of fixtures this year after the coronavirus break continues today (although Real Madrid play tomorrow, 14 June).

Messi and Barcelona back in action

The continuation of La Liga today sees Barcelona – with their star front-line of Olympians including Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez – travel to play Mallorca.

La Liga officially resumed its 2019–20 season on Thursday (11 June) with the Seville derby between Sevilla and Real Betis.

Messi said in a video released by his sponsors: "Being away from the game has made me think.

"I just want to play. And to play our game is a gift. To be supported by so many, even more so.

"To be able to inspire others, and be inspired. And maybe the greatest gift of all: to create joy for others. So, now the game has returned, I'm ready for its gift again."

Tennis back with a bang

Tennis is slowly continuing its own behind-closed-doors return, with world number three Karolina Pliskova and doubles world number two Barbora Strycova taking part in a charity tournament which began today in Prague.

It was originally due to feature two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova as well, but she has withdrawn due to injury.

The team competition, which will be held over four different three-day events, is one of three European tennis circuits starting today.

On the men's circuit, the Adria Tour – featuring Novak Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov, and Marin Cilic – will visit Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina over the next four weeks.

Serena Williams' coach Patrick Mouratoglou is also debuting a new tennis format called the Ultimate Tennis Showdown from his academy in France.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, David Goffin, Richard Gasquet, and Feliciano Lopez are just some of the players taking part in the innovative event designed for a new audience.

"We must have options to make tennis more attractive emotions-wise," Mouratoglou told ESPN. "Our goal is to have more authenticity. If David Goffin wants to remain calm and quiet, fine. But perhaps he would enjoy to have a little more freedom to show another side of his personality. Our goal is to have authenticity and a variety of behaviours. That's how life is and why we are interesting as human beings."

Japanese rugby star gives up Olympic dreams

Fukuoka Kenki, a member of Japan's Rio 2016 sevens team and its fifteen-a-side Rugby World Cup squad last year, is set to end his hopes of playing in a home Olympics next year.

The 27-year-old is juggling medical studies with his athletic career, and had planned to quit rugby after Tokyo 2020 this summer to focus on becoming a doctor.

However, the Games' postponement means Fukuoka has been forced to choose between the two, and he has decided to focus on his medical career, reports Kyodo.

The Japan Rugby Football Union has confirmed he is no longer a member of the Olympic practice squad.

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Trivia time

Yesterday we asked you which country has won the most Olympic medals in judo: Russia, the Republic of Korea, France, or Japan.

Of course, it was Japan, where the sport was first developed.

Our question for you today is perhaps slightly more difficult:

Which of these sports is not included as part of modern pentathlon? Is it:

  • Swimming
  • Archery
  • Equestrian
  • Fencing

We'll have the answer for you tomorrow.

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And finally…

Sprinter Noah Lyles is giving the keynote speech today at his old high school's graduation ceremony for the class of 2020.

Lyles, the 200m world number one and indoor 300m world best performance record holder, graduated from T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia, in 2016.

Noah Lyles exclusive: "I am hugely into creating"

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