Gstaad, Switzerland, June 25, 2006 - Top-seeded Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos captured their second-straight 1to1 energy Grand Slam gold medal here Sunday by defeating Brazilian rivals Marcio Araujo and Fabio Magalhaes for the US$42,300 first-place prize in the battle of Olympic and World champions in the Swiss Alps.
The Athens 2004 Olympic champions, Emanuel and Ricardo scored a 21-17 and 21-19 win in 46 minutes over the 2005 SWATCH-FIVB World gold medalists for the fifth-time in seven meetings between the two teams. It was also the third gold medal meeting for the top-two teams on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour since last July with Emanuel and Ricardo winning each time.
“That was some match,” said the 33-year old Emanuel, who collected his 57th FIVB title in 149 international Beach Volleyball starts. “Anytime you play another Brazilian team, it is tough. I just glad to get back to the top of the podium after finishing second the past two weeks.”
After finishing fourth in the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour season opener last month in Shanghai, Emanuel and Ricardo won June’s first event in Croatia before settling for the silver medal in Italy and Portugal the past two weeks where they were defeated by teams from Switzerland and Germany, respectively, in the finals.
Marcio Araujo and Fabio, who captured the Shanghai season opener when they defeated Emanuel and Ricardo in the semi-finals, shared the $28,300 second-place prize. Emanuel and Ricardo are now 21-6 in FIVB gold medal matches while Marcio Araujo and Fabio are 4-4, including SWATCH-FIVB World championship win last June in Berlin.
“We are extremely tired,” said Marcio Araujo as his team entered the $580,000 1to1 energy Grand Slam finale with an 80-minute semi-final victory over fourth-seeded Brazilian rivals Pedro Cunha and Franco Neto. “We played okay, but I think the quick turn-around from the semis hurt us. Not to discredit Emanuel and Ricardo, but you have to play at the highest level with the most energy to beat them.”
Before Marcio Araujo and Fabio’s 21-23, 22-20 and 15-13 semi-final win over Cunha and Franco, Emanuel and Ricardo scored a 21-15 and 21-17 win in 48 minutes over second-seeded Julius Brink and Christoph Dieckmann. The Germans had defeated Emanuel and Ricardo in their previous two medal matches this season, including last week’s finale in Portugal.
Emanuel and Ricardo now join Americans Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh as two-time winners on the 2006 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour. May-Treanor and Walsh captured their fourth 1to1 energy Grand Slam gold medal by defeating Brazilians Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca in the finals. The American won their first SWATCH stop this season in Athens three week’s ago.
The 1to1 energy Grand Slam was the first of seven-straight double gender events on the 2006 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour schedule. The world’s best Beach Volleyball players travel to Norway for their next stop starting Tuesday in Stavanger for the $580,000 ConocoPhillips Grand Slam. After Norway, the SWATCH tour makes tops in Marseille, Montreal and St. Petersburg before the final two grand slam events in Paris (July 25-30) and Klagenfurt, Austria (August 2-6).