MB’s Games: One Venezuelan women takes on the London Olympics – and wins everyone over
Anthony Ogogo had been and gone – leaving behind echoes of the incredible noise every Team GB competitor has generated ringing in the ears of those left behind.
It really has been something to behold. Be it in the judo and fencing halls at Excel, or the open air Riverbank Hockey Arena.
On Saturday afternoon, everyone was still sat in their seats – after all they had paid good money – as Hungary's Zoltan Harcsa took on Venezuelan Jose Espinoza Mena, also in Ogogo's middleweight division. Only it soon became apparent Harcsa wasn't only taking on Espinoza Mena. He was also taking on a woman, in the far reaches of the arena, who seemed hellbent on doubling up as a coach and cox.
From the first bell, said woman berated her home fighter. Screaming at the top of her voice – yet never getting hoarse.
By the end of the first round, one person had left after telling her to pipe down. A smattering of people around her was sniggering in laughter. A couple mocking. Others took to repeat her cries in a rather annoying copy of Speedy Gonzales.
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But she smiled and carried on. She had more important business to attend to – her man was a point down. By the second round, she took things up a level – and so did her soon to be won-over fans.
Every screamed sentence of Spanish, no doubt incoherent to those next to her, was cheered immediately after. First by tens, then by hundreds. Finally thousands.
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She was on her feet – crying encouragement not only at her man but for cheers of 'Venezuela' from everyone in the crowd. They were eating from the palm of her hand – and they obliged – all of them. They screamed as Espinoza Mena took their collective encouragement and won the second round.
After a pulsating final�, Harcsa did just enough – and got booed for the trouble. Both fighters looked completely bemused, without clue what they had done right or wrong.
And they both left to applause, while all left with a story to tell.
As is the Olympic norm…