Men's competition, Klagenfurt
From 28 July To 1 August 2004

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Brazilians Net Top-Two Men's Athens Olympics Games Seeds
KLAGENFURT, AUSTRIA, July 31, 2004 - For Brazil's Ricardo Santos, it will be another chance for an Olympic medal. For Emanuel Rego, Ricardo's partner, it will be his third attempt for an Olympic medal. For Brazilians' Benjamin Insfran and Marcio Araujo, it will be their first Olympic experience.

For the South American country, it will have the top two-seeded teams in the 24-team men's field for the Beach Volleyball competition at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games when the competition begins August 14 for the first of six days of preliminary competition.

Along with teams from 17 countries, the two Brazilian teams learned here Saturday who they will be competing against during the preliminary rounds of the Athens Olympics as the FIVB, the international sanctioning body for volleyball, held the "drawing of lots" to divide the field into six pools of four teams each. The Klagenfurter Wappensaal, a 300-year-old hall in the middle of Klagenfurt, was the site for draw.

Following the men's preliminary rounds, the first rounds of the elimination brackets will be played August 20-21. The quarterfinals will be August 22 following by the semi-finals August 23. The men's medal matches will be August 25.

With each team playing three preliminary matches, the top two tandems from each pool advance to the 16-team elimination bracket along with the best four ranked No. 3 teams based on match records, set ratios and point ratios.

"Since winning the world championships last October in Rio, we have been pretty focused on our Olympic competition along with trying to improve our game with each match this season," said Emanuel, who placed ninth at both the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games with Ze Marco de Melo and Jose Loiola, respectively.

Emanuel lauded the play of Ricardo as being "instrumental" in earning the top Olympic ranking since the start of the process in January 2003 when a team's top eight finishes on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour were used to determine the qualifying tandems.

"In my opinion, he is the best player in the world. He has won an Olympic silver medal with Ze Marco. He has worked hard recently to rehab his right ankle after spraining it early this month. I like our chances, but the competition with be extremely tough as the SWATCH Tour has improved tremendously the past four seasons," Emanuel noted.

With Emanuel/Ricardo and Benjamin/Marcio Araujo the top seeds in Pool A and Pool B, respectively, host Greece was awarded the top seed in Pool F with the team of Pavlos Beligratis and Thanassis Michalopoulos. Switzerland will have the top-ranked teams in Pool C (Martin and Paul Laciga) and Pool E (Patrick Heuscher/Stefan Kobel). Germany's Markus Dieckmann and Jonas Reckerman are the top seeds in Pool D.

Emanuel and Ricardo headline Pool A with Dax Holdren/Stein Metzger, United States (seed No. 12), Andrew Schacht/Joshua Slack, Australia (13) and Iver Horrem/Bjorn Maaseide, Norway (24).

Benjamin and Marcio Araujo are joined in Pool B with Christoph Dieckmann/Andreas Scheuerpflug, Germany (11), Francisco Alvarez/Juan Rossell, Cuba (14) and Stephane Canet/Mathieu Hamel, France (23).

The Laciga brothers, who placed fifth in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, lead Pool C with Nikolas Berger/Clemens Doppler, Austria (10), Javier Bosma/Pablo Herrera, Spain (15) and Robert Nowotny/Peter Gartmayer, Austria (22)

Markus Dieckmann and Reckermann are the featured team in Pool D with Jorre Kjemperud/Vegard Hoidalen, Norway (9), Bjorn Berg/Simon Dahl, Sweden (16) and Ramon Hernandez/Raul Papaleo, Puerto Rico (21).

Heuscher and Kobel will be competing in Pool E with Dain Blanton/Jeff Nygaard, United States (8), Julien Prosser/Mark Williams, Australia (17) and John Child/Mark Heese, Canada (20). Blanton won the Sydney 2000 Olympic gold medal with Eric Fonoimoana while Child and Heese were the bronze medallists in 1996 at Atlanta.

Joining Beligratis and Michalopoulos in Pool F are Mariano Baracetti/Martin Conde, Argentina (7), Luis Maia/Joao Brenha, Portugal (18) and Colin Pocock/Gershon Rorich, South Africa (19). Maia and Brenha placed fourth in both the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games.