STAVANGER, NORWAY, June 30, 2006 - Brazilians have dominated the previous seven ConocoPhillips Grand Slam events, and it is no different this year as all four teams from the South American countries advanced from pool play here Thursday with a combined record of 11-1.
Led by Emanuel Rego’s six gold medals in seven previous ConocoPhillips Grand Slam appearances, Brazilians have claimed 15 of the 21 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour medals awarded on the Vagen Harbour centre court.
Both Italy and Switzerland had three tandems each net spots in the 24-team single-elimination bracket for the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour event. Germany, host Norway and Spain each advanced two teams each. Other countries gaining elimination berths were Argentina, Canada, China, Estonia, Greece, the Netherlands, Russia and Sweden.
Three-time ConocoPhillips Grand Slam champions Emanuel and Ricardo Santos won all three of their Pool A matches, but surrendered the top spot in the 24-team elimination bracket to Brazilian rivals Marcio Araujo and Fabio Magalhaes due to their Pool B set ratio (6-1 to 6-2).
Pedro Cunha and Franco Neto, who were the 25th seeded team in the Main Draw after winning three preliminary matches in the Brazilian country quota playoff and qualifying rounds, also posted a 3-0 Pool H mark. Fourth-seeded Benjamin Insfran and Harley Marques also qualified for Brazil with a 2-1 Pool D mark that was matched by Mariano Baracetti/Martin Conde of Argentina and Sascha Heyer/Paul Laciga of Switzerland.
Other ConocoPhillips Grand Slam pool winners were Julius Brink/Christoph Dieckmann of Germany (Pool C), Ahren Cadieux/Conrad Leinemann of Canada (Pool E), sixth-seeded Kristjan Kais/Rivo Vesik of Estonia (Pool F) and seventh-seeded Markus Egger/Martin Laciga of Switzerland (Pool G).
Gaining Saturday spots for Norway were ninth-seeded Iver Horrem/Bard-Inge Pettersen and 10th-seeded Jorre Kjemperud/Tarjei Skarlund. The Norwegians will learn their Saturday morning opponents after a “late” night Friday drawing to determine the opening elimination schedule.
The second of seven-straight double gender events on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour, the ConocoPhillips Grand Slam “concludes Sunday for the men when the final two teams will be competing for the $42,300 first-place prize.
The women’s competition ends Saturday with the semi-final and medal matches. Germany’s Stephanie Pohl and Okka Rau join three teams from Brazil in the women’s “final four” of the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour event.