French Grand Slam
Marseille, France July 16-20 2003
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARSEILLE - TEN YEARS OF BEACH VOLLEYBALL
Marseille will welcome the world's finest beach volleyballers for the 10th consecutive year this summer when it hosts the $300,000 French Grand Slam, the second grand slam event the season.
Situated on the French Mediterranean, Marseille hosted a Grand Slam tournament for the first time last year and this season it is part of a four-leg Grand Slam tournament within a tournament at this picture-book location
One of the largest ports in Europe, Marseille is widely regarded as France's 'second' city, a melting pot of commerce, culture and tourism that serves as the gateway to Provence and many other provinces southern France.
Marseille is also the oldest city in France, having been founded by the Greeks in 600 BC, and today it boasts one of the most diverse and cosmopolitan populations in Europe. Many visit the area for it's natural beauty and spectacular climate, although the Mistral - a strong wind that funnels down the Rhone Valley - can often roar for days on end.
Indeed, organisers lost a day of action in last year's event to the infamous Mistral, but this could not stop the Brazilian pair of Ricardo-Loiola from securing their second gold medal in as many weeks with a tense and emotional victory over Cuba's Alvarez-Rosell.
But Ricardo-Loiola, champions the week before in Montreal, did not have it all their own way and had to fight back from a set down before emerging 19-21, 21-16, 15-9 winners in front of a large Brazilian contingent.
The highly-popular Cubans were the surprise package of the week, posting their best finish of the season and securing the player of the tournament award for Miguel Rosell.
"We are very happy and proud, but it was not a real surprise to us because our form is constantly improving," said Francisco Alvarez after collecting his silver medal.
The bronze medal went to Brazil's pairing of Emanuel-Tande, who defeated last season's World Tour champions Baracetti-Conde 21-15, 26-24 to take the remaining podium place.
After Marseille, the Men's Beach Volleyball World Tour moves on to Espinho in Portugal for the $150,000 Portuguese Open.
1. Ricardo-Loiola (BRA)
Costa Santos Biography
Geraldo Loiola / Profile
2. Alvarez-Rosell (CUB)
Alvarez Cutino Biography
Miguel Rosell Milanes Biography
3. Emanuel-Tande (BRA)