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

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Spaniards Seek Golden Opportunity
Athens, Greece, August 23, 2004 - It is nothing new for veteran Javier Bosma to play in "big" Beach Volleyball matches, and now, his young Spanish partner Pablo Herrera is quickly becoming accustomed to competing on the world's largest stage for the sport.

The Spaniards proved here Monday for the sixth-straight time in the Athens 2004 Olympic Games why they belong in Wednesday's gold medal match after winning the first men's semi-final match Julien Prosser and Mark Williams of Australia.

With a 21-18 and 21-18 win in 45 minutes over the Aussies, Bosma and Herrera earned a shot at a gold medal Wednesday against top-seeded Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos of Brazil at 9 p.m.

The Brazilians advanced to the finals with a 21-14, 19-21 and 15-12 victory in 60 minutes over fifth-seeded Patrick Heuscher and Stefan Kobel of Switzerland. Ricardo now gets another shot at a gold medal after losing the Sydney 2000 Olympic crown with Ze Marco de Melo to the United States' Dain Blanton and Eric Fonoimoana.

"The least we will get will be the silver medal," said Bosma, who started on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour in 1992 at an event in Almeria, Spain that help establish Beach Volleyball as an Olympic sport. "We have already done half our job. Now, we must complete the work and surprise the world with a gold medal like the Americans did last time in Sydney."

For Bosma, the gold medal opportunity highlights his career as he placed fifth in both the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games with different partners. His most cherished Olympic moment was with Fabio Diez in the Sydney Olympics where they scored a 17-16 win to eliminate Emanuel and Jose Loiola, the top-ranked team entering the 2000 games.

Herrera started playing with Bosma last season and the 22-year old sensation has already claimed a SWATCH-FIVB World Tour title in May as he and his 34-year old partner defeated Emanuel and Ricardo for May's China title. Herrera won the FIVB's under 21 title in 2002 with Raul Mesa.

"I think this match was a lot easier for us mentally than yesterday's against the Canadians," said Herrera about his team's 22-24, 21-19 and 18-16 win over John Child and Mark Heese. "It doesn't mater which team we play Wednesday in the final. We are going to do our best and enjoy the experience."

Emanuel, the winningest player in SWATCH-FIVB World Tour history with 47 gold medals, 89 podium placements and 93 "final fours" in 127 international starts, has placed ninth in both the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games.

The women's Olympic medal matches will be played Tuesday and the men's gold and bronze matches are set for Wednesday evening at the 10,000-seat Olympic Beach Volleyball Centre. Misty May and Kerri Walsh will challenge Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede for the women's gold medal at 9 p.m. Tuesday.