Men's competition, Carolina
From 9 June To 13 June 2004

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Four Puerto Rican Teams Advance from Country Quota Matches
CAROLINA, PUERTO RICO, June 9, 2004 - The Carolina Open, presented by GlaxoSmithKline, started here Wednesday as four Puerto Rican teams advanced out of the country quota matches to Thursday's final Qualification Tournament rounds to decide the final Main Draw entries for the US$180,000 Beach Volleyball event.

Earning berths in Thursday's elimination rounds were ninth-seeded Ramon Diaz/Joseph Neira, 10th-seeded Fernando Morales/David Quinonez, 12th-seeded Jorge Gonzalez/Anibal Martinez and 17th-seeded Abdel Otero/Juan Rivera, Puerto Rico.

The four Puerto Rican teams will join tandems from Australia, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and the United States in the final qualifying matches Thursday that will determine the last ninth berths for the 32-team Main Draw.

Host Puerto Rico has already placed three teams in the "money" rounds of the sixth men's event on the 2004 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour, including Ramon Hernandez and Raul Papaleo, who are attempting to become the island country's first-ever Olympic qualifiers for either the indoor or beach Games.

Hernandez and Papaleo, the bronze medallists at the 2003 Pan Am games in the Dominican Republic last August and ninth-place finisher at the FIVB World Championships last October in Rio de Janeiro, are currently ranked 19th on the Olympic qualifying list for the 2004 Athens Games.

Other Puerto Rican teams in the Main Draw are the teams of Osualdo Barraras/Antonio Rondon and Willie De Jesus/Amaury Velasco. De Jesus and Velasco, the fifth-place finishers at the 1999 Pan Am Games in Canada, were Puerto Rico's main Beach Volleyball, hopes for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games where they just missed qualifying.

Benjamin Insfran and Marcio Araujo of Brazil, the No. 2-ranked team on the Olympic qualifying list, will be the top-seeded team in the Main Draw after placing third last week in Portugal. Marcio Araujo missed the first three events this season in Brazil, South Africa and China before returning to action two weeks ago at the Serbia and Montenegro Open.

Winners of seven SWATCH-FIVB World Tour events together, Benjamin and Marcio Araujo captured three titles in 2003 when the Olympic Beach Volleyball qualifying process for the Athens Games started. The pair ranks 13th for career earnings together on the FIVB tour with $456,825, the fourth-best among active teams.

Thursday's Qualification Tournament action will determine the final nine berths in the 32-team Main Draw. The double-elimination Main Draw starts Friday and concludes Sunday where the winning team will share the $27,000 for capturing the gold medal.