Yves Salaberry, due to play Aimar Olaizola in the Manomanista final on 19th June, was last night admitted to hospital with acute appendicitis, after the onset of severe abdominal pain in the morning. In an operation lasting thrity minutes, without complications, his appendix was removed. He remains in hospital in Bayonne tonight and is expected to be discharged tomorrow.
Given the severity of the affliction, and the typical duration of recovery, it goes without saying that Xala cannot play on 19th June. The authorities must therefore decide on the appropriate course of action. The first and perhaps fairest option is the postponement of the final. However, this would lead to the disruption of the summer calendar, potentially impinging on the San Fermin tournament. The other solution would be to hold the final on the agreed date, but to substitute Xala with Bengoetxea VI, a losing semi finalist. The second option would save the empresas from having to deal with the debacle of ticket refunds and upset, as Bizkaia is already sold out. However, it would be a somewhat contrived spectacle, given that Bengoetxea has already lost to Olaizola, who would be his final opponent, in the semis. It would also be devastating for Xala, who won his way through on pure merit against tough opposition. And quite apart from the issue of fairness, the fans surely wish to see a showpiece between the top two players of the year so far. A decision was expected this afternoon, but will now not be taken until tomorrow morning, when the Comité Deporivo de La Liga de Empresas will meet.
Image from Noticias de Navarra, by Oskar Martinez