Men's Olympic Games, Athens GREECE
From 14 August To 25 August 2004

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South Africa Advancement Highlights Tuesday's Beach Volleyball Pool Play Action
Athens, Greece, August 18, 2004 - Earning a spot in the Olympics was one thing for Colin Pocock and Gerson Rorich, but advancing from pool play in the Athens 2004 OIympic Games was another as the South African's win highlighted play here Wednesday at the Olympic Beach Volleyball Complex.

Earning a berth at the final Olympic qualifying event last month in Mallorca, Pocock and Rorich posted the biggest upset of the pool play competition by scoring a 22-20 and 22-20 win in 49 minutes over Joao Brenha and Luis Maia, the fourth-place finishers at both the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games.

With Tuesday's win over the Portugal pair along with Saturday's opening win over Pavlos Beligratis and Thanassis Michalopoulos of Greece, Popock and Rorich advance as the No. 2 team from Pool F. Mariano Baracetti and Martin Conde of Argentina, the 2001 FIVB World Champions and past Beach Volleyball Olympians, posted a 3-0 record in Pool F play.

Despite the win, Pocock noted that his team had some luck in advancing to the 16-team men's elimination bracket that begins with matches Friday and Saturday. "I think Brenha's injury (left ankle surgery in early June) has hurt them," said Pocock, who is playing with Rorich as the African continent's entry into the 2004 Summer Games.

Also advancing to the Round of 16 were teams from Australia, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland. The other 10 teams will be determined late Thursday or early Friday morning when Pools A, B and C are completed.

Advancing Wednesday from Pool D were the teams of Markus Dieckmann/Jonas Reckerman of Germany and Bjorn Berg/Simon Dahl of Sweden. Vegard Hoidalen and Jorre Kjemperud of Norway, who defeated the Germans Wednesday, also matched the other two team's match mark of 2-1, but has to wait until the completion of play Thursday to see if they advance as a third-place team.

In Pool E where defending Olympic gold medallists Dain Blanton failed to advance from the preliminary rounds with new American partner Jeff Nygaard, the teams of Patrick Heusher/Stefan Kobel (3-0 match mark) and Julien Prosser/Mark Williams (2-1) earned spots in the elimination round.

The current leaders to capture the top spots in other three pools are Brazilians Emanuel Rego/Ricardo Santos (Pool A) and Benjamin Insfran/Marcio Araujo (Pool B) along with Javier Bosma and Pablo Herrera (Pool C) from Spain, who upset the third-seeded Laciga brothers (Martin and Paul) from Switzerland.

The Round of 16 elimination matches for the men will be played Friday and Saturday. Quarterfinals are set for Sunday with the semi-finals being played next Monday to decide the medal match line up for August 25.