Men's South Africa Open 2004
Cape Town, March 23-28

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South Africa Hosts First Beach Volleyball Event Since 1996
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA, March 19, 2004 - The SWATCH-FIVB World Tour returns here for the first-time since 1996 as the top men's international Beach Volleyball competitors from travel from Brazil for their second event of the 2004 season.

The legislative center of South Africa, Cape Town is renowned for its outdoor pursuit opportunities and Beach Volleyball will be thriving in this environment with a week of highly-competitive Olympic qualifying action taking place on the beautiful sands of Camps Bay. A total of 28 countries have entered the competition.

South Africa hosted two SWATCH-FIVB World Tour events with teams from Brazil winning both times. At Cape Town in 1995 (December 21-23), Emanuel Rego and ZeMarco de Melo defeated Martin Conde and Eduardo Martinez of Argentina in the finals. The next December (13-15), Guilherme Marques and Pará Ferreira won the Durban stop by defeating Mike Dodd and Mike Whitmarsh of the United States in the finals.

Emanuel, who also placed third in the Durban event with ZeMarco, and current partner Ricardo Santos headline the field for this year's event that starts Tuesday with the first of two days of qualifying. The 32-team double-elimination Main Draw starts Thursday with the finals slated for Sunday in the US$180,000 South African Open.

The top-seeded team in the 2004 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour opener in Salvador, Brazil, Emanuel and Ricardo earned $237,000 for 10 events in 2003 with five tournament titles, including the World Championship Gold Medal last October in Rio de Janeiro.

Ricardo won the silver medal at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games with ZeMarco where the pair lost to Dain Blanton and Eric Fonoimoana of the United States in the finals. Both Americans have entered the Cape Town event, but with different partners. Blanton is now paired with Jeff Nygaard while Fonoimoana plays with Kevin Wong.

The teams representing South Africa in the Main Draw are Gershon Rorich/Colin Pocock, David Hodge/Ryan Wentzel and Doiminic Shane Goliath/Andile Masinga. The host country will also have a chance to qualify four teams from the Qualification Tournament where 43 tandems from 23 countries have entered.

After opening with back-to-back events in Brazil and South Africa, the men's SWATCH-FIVB World Tour takes a break until May 19-23 when China hosts its first men's international event in Lianyungang. Other Olympic qualifying events prior July 11 will be in Serbia and Montenegro, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Switzerland, Germany, Norway and Canada.