Manomanista Final: the defining dual of our era

Atano III, San Sebastian, 18:00 (CET) OLAIZOLA II v MARTINEZ DE IRUJO

 Live on ETB-Sat:

 At 6pm on Sunday, the world of pelota mano will stand still. The Basque Country over, time and place will become an irrelevance as fans young and old turn their minds and hearts to a world within a world, a world bounded by green walls and baying crowds, banners and television cameras. On Sunday, the two men who have ruled and defined pelota mano in the 21st century compete for the holy grail of their sport, the Manomanista title, in San Sebastian. Both Aimar Olaizola and Juan Martinez de Irujo have been here before and know the sweet taste of success but each will lay their entire being on the line in the quest for txapela number three. It is the dream final; since the turn of the century, 28 major championships have been held, and between them, Aimar and Irujo have won 13 of them, this despite the presence of other towering figures of the modern game such as Titin III and perennial bridesmaid Barriola. Their qualification for the Manomanista final means that they have reached every major final this season, Aimar having beaten Irujo in the Cuatro y Medio final in December and Irujo (with Goni III) having got the better of Aimar (with Mendizabal II) in the pairs final in the spring. It is divine justice that they should meet again.

 The defining duel of our era continues on the greatest of all stages; if you watch only one match of pelota mano this year, let this be it.

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