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Coronavirus latest: Five sports benefitting from national lockdown

E-sports, pool and darts are among the sports thriving.

Sales of table tennis and pool tables are reportedly soaring as more Britons seek to find new ways to defy the sporting shutdown.

Here the PA news agency takes a look at five sports which are shrugging off the crisis and bracing themselves for an unprecedented surge in interest.

Table Tennis

Table tennis tables are reportedly becoming the latest focus for panic-buying, with retailers reporting hundreds of sales in a single week alone. Table tennis also remains one of very few global sports still standing, with matches continuing to take place as scheduled this week in the Moscow Elite Pro League.

Pool

Pool is gaining in popularity with the raucous, annual Mosconi Cup now a satellite TV staple, and a continued push for the sport to be accepted into the Olympics. The latest suggestion is a combined cue sports team event consisting of representatives from nine-ball pool, snooker and billiards. Good luck with that one.

Darts

Darts is another sport that is keeping people busy during the shutdown. Anyone who witnessed Jocky Wilson in his prime will appreciate that darts is capable of defying physical logic. Unsurprisingly, the sport has come up with a pandemic-busting prospect which entails former world champions Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld facing each other on an electronic dartboard, which means neither will need to leave the comfort of their own homes.

Bridge

With all regular competitions cancelled, officials at the English Bridge Union have reported a growth in interest in their online competitions. On its official website, chairman Ian Payn laments: "The temporary loss of bridge from your lives will be a great blow." Bridge harbours hopes of Olympic inclusion: the World Bridge Federation is recognised by the International Olympic Committee.

E-sports

E-sports have been surprisingly affected by the lockdown, with a number of major conventions and competitions being cancelled, or switched to purely online events. But major streaming platforms have reported a huge surge of interest, with League of Legends Championship commissioner Chris Greeley telling the Los Angeles Times: "We feel like we're weathering the storm pretty well."

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ChinaChina34241674
United StatesUnited States29352791
JapanJapan22101446
AustraliaAustralia1751941
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Great BritainGreat Britain16181852
Today's Olympic highlights header

Thursday's key events


ATHLETICS
· The women's heptathlon continues with the long jump, javelin and 800m, with Katarina Johnson-Thompson now out of contention following an injury (1.10am-1.40pm)
· Andrew Pozzi pursues his dream of an Olympic medal in the men's 110m hurdles final (3.55am)
· Tom Bosworth and Callum Wilkinson are among the British hopes in the men's 20km race walk (8.30am)
· Holly Bradshaw aims to improve on fifth in Rio to challenge Greece's Katerina Stefanidi and Anzhelika Sidorova of Russia for an unlikely medal in the women's pole vault (11am)
· London 2012 champion Kirani James goes up against current world champion Steven Gardiner in the men's 400m final (1pm)

MARATHON SWIMMING
· One of the toughest Olympic events takes place in Tokyo Bay as GB's Hector Pardoe takes on the men's 20km marathon swim (10.30pm Wed)

BOXING
· Galal Yafai takes on takes on Kazakhstan's Saken Bibossinov for a spot in the gold medal bout of the fly (48kg-52kg) class (6.48am)

DIVING
· Lois Toulson and Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix (daughter of First Dates' Fred Sirieix) line up for the women's 10m platform (semi-final 2am; final 7am)

HOCKEY
· Australia face Belgium in the men's final (11am)

> Today's schedule in full
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