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

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Action-Packed Pool F Play Highlights Men's Olympic Beach Volleyball Saturday
Athens, Greece, August 14, 2004 - If you were looking for exciting action here Saturday during the opening men's pool play match in the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, it was in Pool F where Argentina and South Africa posted wins at the Olympic Beach Volleyball Centre.

The best men's match of the day featured Thanassis Michalopoulos and Pavlos Beligratis of Greece against Colin Pocock and Gershon Rorich of South Africa as the two teams delighted the host country crowd with a three-setter in 78 minutes.

Representing both their country in the continent of Africa for the first-time in the Olympic Beach Volleyball competition, Pocock and Rorich scored a 21-16, 24-26 and 15-10 win for only their sixth win in 21 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour matches this season.

"That was exciting," said Pocock. "We knew the crowd would be a big factor tonight so it was important for us to win the first set. Give the Greeks a lot of credit for competing hard throughout the match. I think our training here the last week helped us a lot."

With the win, the South Africans now face Mariano Baracetti and Martin Conde of Argentina Monday at 2:30 p.m. The 2001 FIVB World Champions, Baracetti and Conde also won a three-setter by defeating Joao Brenha and Luis Maia of Portugal 13-21, 21-16 and 15-5 in 57 minutes.

"At the beginning, we were a bit nervous," said Conde, who is competing in his third Olympic Beach Volleyball competition. "After the first set, we reached the level that we wanted and kept it throughout the next set. Now, I feel confident and better for the next matches."

For Brenha and Maia, who placed fourth in both the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Beach Volleyball competition, the Olympics is only their third event this season. Brenha broke his left ankle before his first event earlier this season in Portugal.

Other men's action was held in Pools D and E. Pool D winners were Germany's Markus Dieckmann/Jonas Reckermann and Sweden's Bjorn Berg/Simon Dahl as they defeated teams from Puerto Rico and Germany, respectively. The Germans and Swedes will play each other Monday at 8 p.m.

Winners in Pool E Friday were Patrick Heuscher/Stefan Kobel of Switzerland and Julien Prosser/Mark Williams of Australia. The Swiss scored a 28-26 and 21-18 win over John Child and Mark Heese of Canada. Prosser and Williams defeated Dain Blanton and Jeff Nygaard of the United States 21-16 and 21-14 in 42 minutes. The Swiss and Aussies face each other at 9 a.m. Monday.

Opening Olympic Beach Volleyball action in men's Pools A, B and C will be staged Sunday with six more matches featuring the top-seeded Brazilians Emanuel Rego/Ricardo Santos and Benjamin Insfran/Marcio Araujo. Also in action Sunday will be the third-seeded Laciga brothers (Martin and Paul) from Switzerland.