The long awaited and much anticipated 2011 Manomanista Final is upon us. On Sunday at Bizkaia, Yves Salaberry, recovered from an operation to remove his appendix, takes on Aimar Olaizola in the biggest match of them all. Olaizola is the logical favourite; the Pairs Champion and two-time former winner has barely put a foot wrong all year, and has taken allcomers to pieces in his campaign thus far, culminating in a performance for the ages against Irujo. Xala’s progress has been serene but rather quieter. He too has had an excellent year; he was outplayed by Olaizola in the Pairs final, and was pushed hard by debutant Idoate in the Manomanista semi, but his class is plain for all to see. Questions must remain about his match fitness in the wake of his appendicitis, but the resolve he showed in winning his fight to play this final will carry him through the match itself. Drop everything at around 18:00 CEST on Sunday, to watch the two greatest players of the year put everything on the line.
The protagonists selected their playing material in Bilbao yesterday afternoon. Olaizola selected balls weighing 104.1g and 104.8g, while Xala chose lighter options at 103g and 103.5g.
Friday 1st July, Sopelana
22:10 (CEST) APEZETXEA – LARRINAGA v ARITZ LASA – LADIS GALARZA
Followed by: IRUJO – LASKURAIN v GONZALEZ – ZUBIETA
Sunday 3rd July, Bilbao
17:00 (CEST) RETEGI BI – PASCUAL v OLAETXEA – BEROIZ
Followed by: OLAIZOLA II v XALA Manomanista Final
To watch, go to https://www.eitb.eus/television/etb-sat/en-directo
(Image from Noticias de Gipuzkoa)