Kristiansand, Norway, August 31, 2008 - Seventh-seeded Pablo Herrera and Raul Mesa of Spain scored a 21-18, 15-21 and 15-13 win in 65 minutes over sixth-seeded Joao Luis Pianca Maciel and Bruno Oscar Schmidt of Brazil to claim the second SWATCH FIVB World Tour gold medal for Spain in the 22-year history of the international men’s Beach Volleyball circuit.
The SWATCH FIVB World Tour Otera Open 2008 finished with the men’s final at the Centre Court in Tresse, Kristiansand, on Sunday evening. Teams from Brazil and Spain met in their fifth international final, Brazil leading by 3-1 with Brazilian victories for Ze Marco de Melo/Emanuel Rego against Javier Bosma/Sixto Jimenez (coach of Herrera/Mesa) in Tenerife 1995, Emanuel Rego/Ricardo Santos against Javier Bosma/Pablo Herrera Allepuz in the Olympic Games in Athens 2004 and Emanuel/Ricardo against Inocencio Lario Carillo/Adrian Gavira Collado in Stare Jablonki 2008. The Spanish victory was in Lianyungang, China, in 2004 with Bosma/Herrera beating Emanuel/Ricardo.
In the Otera Open, Herrera/Mesa played their second “final-four” of the season. Mesa said they have trained very hard, with special focus on mental training, to improve.
"We have always been strong physical, but our play has changed from one match to another. We have played well against higher seeded teams and poor against lower seeded teams. Before the Olympics we tried to improve our mental skills. It didn’t work out in Beijing, but now we can see the results," said Mesa.
Herrera and Mesa have decided to carry for another four-year period, until the 2012 London Olympics.
"We’ve had our disagreements, but I guess that’s normal. I disagree with my girl-friend too, and I’m staying more of the year together with Pablo than with her," said Raul Mesa.
New Zealander Jason Lochhead and Kirk Pitman, tenth-seeded in the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Otera Open, won the bronze-medal match against 13th-seeded Florian Gosch and Alexander Horst of Austria, with a 21-19, 22-24 and 15-12 victory in 73 minutes.
Since 1994 and the Hamilton brothers Glenn and Reid, who placed fifth in a FIVB World Tour tournament in Miami, USA that year, New Zealand hasn’t been close to the podium except Lochhead's and Pitman’s recent trainer Craig Seuseu, who placed seventh in Moscow in 1998, and a couple of ninth spots for Lochhead/Pitman in 2005 and 2006. Their fourth place from the Klagenfurt Grand Slam has now been improved with a bronze medal in the Otera Open.
"It was a real battle. I don’t think I could have forgiven myself if we had lost this match with all the opportunities we had to end in just two sets. Now we’re lucky. We have played many good matches and tournaments the last months, but still got only 13ths, 17ths and 25ths as results. Now we got paid, and that feels great," said Pitman.
The next stop on the SWATCH FIVB World Tour for the top men's Beach Volleyball players starts Tuesday in Mallorca, Spain, for the 16th of 20 World Tour events on the 2008 calendar. Brazil, Dubai, Bahrain and China will follow to complete the 2008 SWATCH FIVB World Tour.