Lausanne, Switzerland, October 4, 2006 - The SWATCH-FIVB World Tour will take a three-week break before concluding the 2006 season with a double gender stop in Mexico and the women's season finale in Thailand as 20 years of international Beach Volleyball competition comes to an end.
Men's and women's teams from Brazil continue to pace the competition as the tandems of Emanuel Rego/Ricardo Santos and Juliana Felisberta Silva/Larissa Franca have clinched the SWATCH points titles for the second-straight season together. Emanuel and Ricardo gained their fourth-consecutive FIVB tour championship last weekend in Vitoria while Juliana and Larissa validated their 2005 title two weeks earlier in the Madeira Islands.
The 2006 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour champions for men and women were determined by calculating the points for a team's best 10 finishes for men and the best 11 finishes for women based on 75 percent of the men's (14) and women's (15) events staged this season and rounded down.
With one men's and two women's events remaining on the schedule, the nearest rivals for the Brazilians could not catch the leaders entering the final double gender stop in Mexico (October 24-29 at Acapulco) and the women’s finale in Thailand (November 1-5 at Phuket).
With a men's team from Brazil and a women's tandem from China secured as the No. 2 team in the point's rankings, the No. 3 spot is still to be determined with Brazil's Pedro Cunha and Franco Neto challenging German's Julius Brink and Christoph Dieckmann in the men's competition entering Acapulco event.
Both teams won medal matches this past Sunday in Vitoria as the Germans captured the men's title by defeating Americans Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal in the first SWATCH finale between the two countries while Cunha and Franco upset reigning Olympic champions Emanuel and Ricardo for the third spot on the men's podium.
Brink and Dieckmann have a 20 point edge (4,740 to 4,720) for the third spot on the season ranking list. With the Germans not scheduled to play Acapulco, Cunha and Franco can claim the posting behind Brazilian rivals Marcio Araujo and Fabio Magalhaes with a fifth-place or higher finish in Mexico.
The Germans are the top European team on the international circuit as Brink and Dieckmann finished their 2006 season with four-straight gold medal finishes. After winning an European tour stop in Switzerland, Brink and Dieckmann claimed the continental title at the end of August and the German national championships during the first week of September.
With $177,400 in SWATCH earnings, Dieckmann and Brink have compiled a 41-14 match mark for nine FIVB starts in 2006. By eliminating the Germans' 9-11 record against Brazilian teams, Brink and Dieckmann have a 32-3 match mark against the rest of the world.
China's Tian Jia has now finished behind Juliana and Larrisa twice in SWATCH points, but with two different partners. Tian Jia and her Athens 2004 Olympic partner Wang Fei were second in 2005 with her 2006 teammate being the 21-year old Wang Jie, who returned to FIVB competition after sitting out the 2004 and 2005 campaigns.
Xue Chen and Zhang Xi of China, the top candidates for the 2006 women's SWATCH rookies-of-the-year, are currently third with 4,700 points for their best 11 finishes with the Brazilian tandems Ana Paula Connelly/Leila Barros (4,250), Renata Ribeiro/Talita Antunes (4,240) and Shelda Beda/Adriana Behar (4,220) still in contention.