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

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Four South African Teams Win Country Quota Beach Volleyball Playoffs
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA, March 23, 2004 - Four teams from South Africa won country quota playoff matches here Tuesday morning to advance to the Qualification Tournament's elimination rounds in the US$180,000 South Africa Open.

The second men's event on the 2004 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour returns to his country for the first-time since 1996 as the top men's international Beach Volleyball competitors travel from South American where the season opener was completed with Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos of Brazil winning on their home sand in Salvador.

In addition to the four South African teams advancing from the country quota playoffs, the team of Eric Fonoimoana/Kevin Wong won the playoff among United States teams. Fonoimoana, the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games gold medallists with Dain Blanton, and Wong eliminated Casey Jennings and Matt Fuerbringer 21-17 and 21-18.

South African teams advancing from the country quota playoffs were Alwie Lester/Freedom Chiya, Wesley Daniels/Ulric Hargreaves, Leslie Naidoo/Casey Augoustides and Grant Viljoen/James Wyper. The teams representing South Africa in the Main Draw are Gershon Rorich/Colin Pocock, David Hodge/Ryan Wentzel and Doiminic Shane Goliath/Andile Masinga.

This week's event marks the third-time that South Africa has hosted a SWATCH-FIVB World Tour event with teams from Brazil winning the previous two tournaments. Emanuel and ZeMarco de Melo won the 1995 Cape Town event while Guilherme Marques and Pará Ferreira won the 1996 Durban stop.

The 35-team Qualification Tournament concludes Wednesday when eight teams advance to the 32-team Main Draw. The double-elimination Main Draw starts Thursday with the finals slated for Sunday. A total of 28 countries have entered the competition.

The top-ranked team in the 2003 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour, 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. Emanuel and Ricardo have won the last three events on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour.

Ricardo won the silver medal at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games with ZeMarco where the pair lost to Blanton and Fonoimoana in the finals. While Fonoimoana needs to win a qualifying match Wednesday to advance to the Main Draw, Blanton is now paired with Jeff Nygaard as the top-ranked American team.