The march of Aimar, the authority of Altuna and the explosion of Laso have marked a year in which the public returned to the frontons
The year that is closing has left a sounded goodbye in the ball at hand and several green shoots. Aimar Olaizola, one of the best strikers of the modern era in this sport, hung up the ‘gerriko’, but there were also other names who stepped forward and confirmed that they are the future of the specialty. The pandemic gave a margin so that the affected economies of the companies could take a break, and the progressive return of the public to the frontons provided the last ingredient to make the show complete.
With the blows of the unprecedented strike of the Baiko pelotaris still present, an exercise began in which Elezkano II returned to claim his status in the Couples. Aspe left him out in 2020 in a difficult decision to understand because it prevented him from defending the title won the previous season, but the Biscayan showed his reliability. He was a partner of Zabaleta, the defender who makes the most differences and who ratified his fullness. Both took the most demanding championship in a Bizkaia fronton still without the heat of the fans.
It was at this festival where Jaka debuted his shirt with the Bilbao promoter after arriving from the competition, a signing that sought to balance the tables more in view of the supremacy shown by Aspe in recent campaigns. However, the Lizartza striker was unlucky and a pericarditis made him stand still for several months.
He took his second txapela from Parejas after he could not defend it in 2020
The Manomanista was express and did not have the expected ending. Zagueros like Rezusta and Zabaleta vindicated themselves, but it was clear that they still have a way to go if they want to stand up to the forwards. Artola exploded, but a back injury left him with honey on his lips. He reached a final that had to be delayed to try to get there, but it turned out to be impossible. Altuna III was measured against Bergara’s bodyguard and took his second txapela on the Miribilla court, which did not have any spectators either.
Given the situation due to the virus, the summer was also atypical. The public returned to the frontons at the end of June. Laso also did it to professionalism after, eight months before, he did not reach a renewal agreement and was left out. Before Eskiroz had done it, and later Víctor and Mariezkurrena II returned. With progressive his return, one of the main agreed premises was fulfilled so that the strike of the previous year was without effect.
Jokin Altuna, Amaia Aldai and Danel Elezkano. /
The San Fermín and San Mateo tournaments were organized. And in between a Master of mixed couples in which the alternative was given to Peio Etxeberria, and which served to carry out a summer season in which the capacities recovered a certain normality. The Riojan appointment was the last for Olaizola II, who in mid-September had set a date for his goodbye.
Goizueta’s man retired two months later in his hometown after 23 years as a professional and 14 txapelas in his record, half in the Cuatro y Medio. He did it at the top, and with all the honors. The mark he left will be impossible to erase, just like the duels with Juan Martínez de Irujo in the last two decades, which fed back a rivalry between fans and ignited this sport. Olaizola II decided to take a rest period before deciding where he wanted his future to run from then on, but he left a door open to join the Baiko coaching staff that is still feasible.
As the date of his farewell came and he said goodbye in different frontons, the ‘cage’ tournament took center stage to witness the definitive resurgence of a pelotari that is called to be another reference to nothing that maintains its progression. Unai Laso took the step forward that was missing and went from hell to heaven. He stood for the first time in a final after tempering his character and improving his defense.
In the final of the bounded he presented a lot of battle, although it was not enough to prevent Jokin Altuna from getting his second txapela of the year and in an explosive match. The one from Biskarreta-Gerendiain is already at the top, and has lit the flame among many followers.
The Couples started at the end of November and has also given reasons for hope regarding the recovery of other pelotaris. After a journey in the desert, Mikel Urrutikoetxea has returned to show the hunger that he has inside, and Irribarria is also showing symptoms that, after his knee operation, he can go back to being his usual self.
However, the ball will also lose the magic of Bengoetxea VI later this month. Baiko has not renewed Leitza who, at 37 years old and after nearly twenty in professionals, will leave another difficult gap to close.
Aldai sits on an increasingly solid female ball
Amaia Aldai was the proper name for an increasingly solid female handball that continues to take steps forward. Dima’s forward was the best of 2021 after taking the txapela from Cuatro y Medio. He also won the Plazandreak tournament and was in the finals of other renowned championships.
The modality has more and more visibility, and the elite pelotaris with a calendar that brings together an outstanding number of competitions. The move to mixed ball has been a greater demand for them, but the game has gained dynamism and with it the show. Those that come from below already have solid references that continue to evolve on the field.