Men's competition, Gstaad
From 16 June To 20 June 2004

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Gstaad Hosts World's Top Men's Beach Volleyball Players
GSTAAD, SWITZERLAND, June 14, 2004 - The world's top men's Beach Bolleyball players return here for the fourth-straight year as the European competitors seek their first title after seeing tandems from North and South America capture the first three Gstaad events.

The first of five-straight mixed gender events on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour, the US$360,000 1to1 Energy Open starts Wednesday for the men with the first of two days of qualifying to determine the final eight entries into the Main Draw.

The men's Main Draw starts Friday and concludes Sunday when the final two teams compete for the $27,000 first-place prize. The 1to1 Energy Open is the seventh men's event on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour after opening stops in Brazil, South Africa, China, Serbia & Montenegro, Portugal and Puerto Rico.

Part of the Olympic Beach Volleyball process, the 1to1 Energy Open will be the first of four-straight events in Europe before the July 11 deadline to determine the 24 men's teams for the 2004 Athens Games in August. The process concludes with events in Germany, Norway and Spain.

Teams from the United States, Argentina and Brazil have captured the first three men's 1to1 Energy Open titles, but 2004 could be different as European teams from Austria, Germany, Estonia, Spain and host Switzerland have competed in "final fours" this season against the North and South Americans.

Leading the Swiss contingent of teams are Patrick Heuscher and Stefan Kobel, who have posted a silver medal finish in Brazil and a bronze placement in Serbia & Montenegro. The Swiss pair also placed third in the 2003 1to1 Energy Open where they lost eventual winners Marcio Araujo and Benjamin Insfran (21-16 and 21-17) in the semi-finals.

Other top Swiss teams are the Laciga brothers (Martin and Paul) and Sascha Heyer/Markus Egger, who finished the 2003 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour season ranked among the top 10 tandems along with Heuscher and Kobel. The Lacigas dropped the 2001 1to1 Energy Open gold match to Stein Metzger and Kevin Wong of the United States.

Argentina's Mariano Baracetti and Martin Conde, the 2002 1to1 Energy Open winners when they defeated Marcio Araujo and Benjamin in the finals, also return to the Swiss community. In three Gstaad starts, Baracetti and Conde have compiled $37,500 in winnings with fifths in 2001 and 2003. The Argentineans are the 2001 FIVB World Champions and placed second in last week's Puerto Rico stop.