Tenerife, Spain and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 7, 2020 - Living in two different countries separated by the Atlantic Ocean, Olympic beach volleyball players Liliana Fernandez of Spain and Talita Antunes of Brazil are working on fitness and enjoying time with their families while the international circuit is on pause.
For Liliana in the Canary Islands off the coast of northwestern Africa, it is staying at home with her husband and son Saul, while Talita is in Rio de Janeiro with her husband and son Renatinho.
"In Spain, the Covid-19 has been very aggressive, so since the 14th of March we have been staying home and only going out to buy food at supermarkets or pharmacies," said Liliana, who has earned Spain a berth at a third Olympics with Elsa Baquerizo and celebrated Mother's Day last Sunday in Tenerife.
For Talita, who placed fourth (2008 with Renata Ribeiro), ninth (2012 with Maria Antonelli) and fourth (2016 with Larissa Franca) in her three Olympic appearances, it is staying at home in Rio. "We are doing fine,” said Talita. "Renatinho is growing up fast and we are able to be with him all the time."
Liliana, who placed ninth at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympics with Elsa, has been "training on my weights with cardio preparation while playing with Saúl. It is enjoyable now as we have better weather and with some sun in the garden."
Talita, who celebrates Mother's Day this coming Sunday, said her apartment building "lent me some machines and I’ve been able to keep the ‘usual’ routine for the physical training part. We are not doing the usual practices on the sand, so sometimes I’ll go to my balcony and I’ll pepper with the wall for example."
A regular on the FIVB World Tour since 2008 with Elsa, Liliana said "all my family is healthy. Saul is going to turn 3 on the 30th of August, so he is growing so fast! He is supposed to start school already in September! Big boy, strong and super active. I love him so much."
Talita, a participant on the FIVB World Tour since 2005 with 34 gold medals, 69 podium placements and 89 final four appearances in 177 events, said “when the World Tour is back, I’ll be playing with Carolina Salgado. It will be a big challenge, since we are both blockers. We’ll be taking turns blocking and defending.”
Liliana’s husband created extra weights for her physical training "by adding cement blocks for the bar. He also invented a support on the wall to leave the bar and walk in and out with weight to do squats. For the cardio training I started with a bike with a roller on the back wheel so I could use it as a static bike."
The Spaniard’s new sponsor Iberdrola “bought a mechanical treadmill for me. Another sponsor, Proyecto FER, is going to help me to improve my gym at home so I can work much better. And all our sponsors (UCAM, Herbalife, Iberdrola, John Smith and Proyecto FER) are helping us this tough year and of course the next Olympic year. So, we are very lucky.”
Talita added that "the quarantine doesn’t allow us to have practices, so we are always home, now I’ve been learning how to cook new recipes, taking care of my little one and doing physical trainings."
It is a different time for beach volleyball veterans Liliana and Talita, but one thing is for sure, the Olympians have enjoyed parenting with their husbands in Tenerife and Rio while celebrating or looking ahead to Mother’s Day 2020 at home with their young sons.