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

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Estonians Seek Better Showing
GSTAAD, SWITZERLAND, June 17, 2004 - After placing 19th in last week's European Championships where they were matched against three of the top-ranked teams from host Germany in pool play, Estonia's Kristjan Kais and Rivo Vesik are looking for a "much better" effort here this week in the 1to1 Energy Open.

Seeded third in the two-day, 49-team Qualification Tournament, Kais and Vesik were one of eight Beach Volleyball tandems earning spots to the Main Draw here Thursday. The Estonians advanced by eliminating 20th-seeded Javier Luna and Raul Mesa of Spain 22-20 and 21-15.

Other teams qualifying for the Main Draw were Stephane Canet/Mathieu Hamel of France (No.-2-seeded team in the qualifier), Satoshi Watanabe/Katsuhiro Shiratori of Japan (5), Fabio Magalhães/Paulo Emilio Silva of Brazil (7), Canyon Ceman/Matt Fuerbringer of the United States (8), Florian Gosch/Bernhard Strauss of Austria (21), Mikhail Kouchnerev/Sergey Sayfulin of Russia (23) and Jochem DeGruijter/Gijs Ronnes of the Netherlands (27).

With the injury withdrawal of Sweden's Borg Berg and Simon Dahl from the Main Draw, the Canadian team of Jody Holden and Conrad Leinemann are expected to fill the spot as the "lucky loser" since they were the highest-seeded team losing Thursday.

"What a relief to be out of the qualifier and into the Main Draw," said Kais after his team's 39-minute match with the Spaniards. "We were really disappointed with our play last week. Obviously, we drew the toughest pool in the tournament. We just did not perform."

Kais was pleased with his team's play Thursday, especially since they did not face any team with Germany on their uniforms. "We learned a lot about ourselves last week," said Kais, "We must take advantage of advancing to the money rounds and earn some valuable Olympic qualifying points."

The Estonians have posted 794 Olympic qualifying points and trail Peter Gartmayer and Robert Nowotny of Austria by 80 points on the provisional listing for the 22nd and final spot in the men's Beach Volleyball competition at Athens Games. Host Greece and a team from the continent of Africa will fill the last two berths in the 24-team Olympic competition.

To improve their point total this week, Kais and Vesik must win at least one match Friday. The Austrians must also finish 17th or higher in the 1to1 Energy Open to improve their score as a team's point total is comprised of a tandem's best eight finishes on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour since January 2003.

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 first of four-straight events in Europe before the July 11 Olympic-qualifying deadline. The process continues next week in Germany.