Women's Olympic Games, Athens GREECE
From 14 August To 24 August 2004

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Women's Olympic Beach Volleyball Wins for Czech Republic, Brazil & Cuba
Athens, Greece, August 15, 2004 - Teams from the Czech Republic, Brazil and Cuba won their opening women's Athens 2004 Olympic Beach Volleyball matches here Sunday during the first two sessions at the Olympic Beach Volleyball Centre.

Eva Celbova and Sona Novakova of the Czech Republic scored a 21-19 and 21-16 win in 45 minutes over Rebekka Kadijk and Marrit Leenstra of the Netherlands in the first to two Pool A matches Sunday.

Ana Paula Connelly and Sandra Pires won their first Pool C match by defeating Nila Ann Hakedal and Ingrid Torlen 21-18 and 21-19 in 47 minutes as the No. 3-seeded Brazilians had to rally in the second set to defeat the Norwegians.

In the final afternoon match Sunday, Cuba's Tamara Peraza and Dalixia Fernandez Grasset, the 2003 Pan American Beach Volleyball champions, out-lasted Lucilla Perrotta and Daniela Gattelli of Italy 21-17, 18-21 and 15-11 in 61 minutes.

"It was a hard game, but we won," said Pires, who is seeking her third Olympic Beach Volleyball medal after capturing the 1996 gold medal at the Atlanta Games with Jackie Silva and the bronze at the Sydney 2000 Games. "The first match in the Olympics is always the most important and the most difficult because you are nervous."

Ana Paula said she and Pires "did not expect it to be so windy. During the training sessions, it was not windy at all. It was so windy that it took us most of the first set to work on our service game. The Norwegians played well and handled the pressure for their first Olympic match."

Three more women's matches are scheduled Sunday evening as the top two-seeded teams play their first match. Top-seeded Misty May and Kerri Walsh of the United States are challenged by Chiaki Kusuhara and Ryo Tokuno of Japan in a Pool A match at 8 p.m.

Second-seeded Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede of Brazil play at 10 p.m. against Leigh Ann Naidoo and Julia Willand of South Africa in a Pool B match after a Pool C meeting between Susanne Lahme and Danja Musch of Germany against Efthalia Koutroumanidou and Vasiliki Arvaniti of Greece at 9 p.m.

Sunday's play is the second of six days of women's pool play where 16 of the 24 teams in the competition will advance to the elimination bracket. The women's medal matches are scheduled for August 24.

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