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

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European Champions Impressive in Opening Olympic Beach Volleyball Match
Athens, Greece, August 14, 2004 - Germany's Markus Dieckmann and Jonas Reckermann proved here Saturday morning in their first Athens 2004 Olympic Game match why they are the 2004 European Champions as they scored a convincing opening win at the Olympic Beach Volleyball Centre.

Competing as the top seeded team in Pool D of the men's competition, Dieckmann and Reckermann scored a 21-14 and 21-13 win in 40 minutes over Ramon Hernandez and Raul Papaleo of Puerto Rico.

"That is one tough team to beat," said Hernandez, who qualified with Papaleo as Puerto Rico's first ever Olympic Volleyball team (Beach or Indoor). "Reckermann plays huge at the net and Markus is a very good defensive player behind the big blocker. We never had a chance to put them in a bad position due to Reckermann's play at the net."

With the win, the Germans will now play Bjorn Berg and Simon Dahl Monday at 8 a.m. The Swedes scored a 21-13 and 21-18 win over Vergard Hoidalen and Jorre Kjemperud of Norway in Saturday's first-ever Olympic match at the 10,000-seat stadium within the Faliro Coastal Zone Olympic Complex.

Berg and Dahl had won only eight of 26 matches on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour this season while the Norwegians had posted a 23-23 record with two podium finishes in Portugal and Poland. "We played terribly as far as getting points," said Kjemperud. "The Swedes played very solid and we were struggling."

Berg, who also competed in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games with Dahl as the pair dropped both of their matches while the Norwegians split a pair of Bondi Beach contests, called the game "special" since the two Scandinavian countries "compete hard against each other. Playing the first game in this Olympics against Norway and winning creates a very memorable moment for me."

The third edition of Olympic Beach Volleyball continues here Saturday with Sydney 2000 gold medallist Dain Blanton of the United States playing a Pool E contest with Jeff Nygaard at 11 p.m. against Julien Porsser and Mark Williams of Australia. Patrick Heuscher and Stefan Kobel play the first men's Pool E match at 3:30 p.m., against Canadians John Child and Mark Heese, the 1996 Atlanta bronze medallists.

Mariano Baracetti and Martin Conde of Argentina, 2001 FIVB World Champions, are the favourites to capture the top spot from Pool F as they open Olympic competition at 5:30 p.m. Saturday against Joao Brenha and Luis Maia of Portugal, the fourth-place finisher at both Atlanta and Sydney. Thanassis Michalopoulos and Pavlos Beligratis from host Greece challenges Colin Pocock and Gershon Rorich of South Africa at 7 p.m. Saturday.