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

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Brazilians Advance to A1 Grand Slam Gold Medal Match Due to Forfeit
KLAGENFURT, AUSTRIA, August 1, 2004 - Brazil was going to have a team anyway in the finals of the A1 Grand Slam here Sunday, but it will not be the defending Lake Wörthersee champions Benjamin Insfran and Marcio Araujo.

Part of the fourth-seeded tandem in the eighth annual A1 Grand Slam, Benjamin could not play in Sunday's first semi-final match due to an abdominal strain. With the forfeit, seventh-seeded Franco Neto and Tande Ramos secured the first spot in the men's gold medal match in the US$540,000 A1 Grand Slam.

Franco and Tande, who will be playing in their third gold medal match this season with a win in South Africa last March and a silver medal finish last week in Poland, will play either second-seeded Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos of Brazil or 11th-seeded Christoph Dieckmann and Andreas Scheuerpflug in the finals where the winning team shares the $40,500 first-place prize.

"We are disappointed that we can not defend our championship today," said Marcio Araujo. "Benjamin was having some discomfort yesterday after winning our match over the Dutch team. When he awoke this morning, he was still having some pain. We do not aggravate this injury. Look at all the problems that Misty May from the United States is having with her abs."

May, who teams with Kerri Walsh as the No. 1-ranked women's team on the Olympic qualifying list, has missed the last three SWATCH-FIVB World Tour events due to her abdominal strain that initially happened June 6 when she was playing a domestic event in Southern California. "We look at Misty's lingering injury and we do not want to face the same situation heading into Athens."

Marcio Araujo expressed "major disappointment in not playing before this great crowd. We had a wonderful experience playing here last year when we defeated the Americans (Stein Metzger/Kevin Wong). We take pride in our SWATCH events in Brazil, but this is the best one going. The crowd, the atmosphere and everything surrounding the event makes this the No. 1 Beach Volleyball spot in the world."

For Franco and Tande, the playing of one less game to reach the final is a "blessing. Since we have come through the elimination bracket by playing three extra games to reach the semi-finals, this break gives us a chance to be fresher the final. Playing another Brazilian is always a tough match. Benjamin and Marcio are one of the top teams in the world."

Benjamin and Marcio Araujo had won two of the previous three meetings this season, but Franco and Tande won last week in Poland 15-21, 21-13 and 15-12. For the gold medal match, Franco and Tande have defeated the Germans twice this season in as many meetings while Emanuel and Ricardo have a 4-1 against their Brazilian rivals, including a win in last week's gold medal match in Poland.

Dieckmann and Scheuerpflug have split four matches with Emanuel and Ricardo, but the two teams have not played each other this season. The Germans advanced to the finals with four-straight wins while Emanuel and Ricardo had to win three elimination matches to reach the "final four," including a 19-21, 21-18 and 15-13 win over 32nd-seeded Jochem DeGruijter and Gijs Ronnes of the Netherlands.

The A1 Grand Slam was the sixth of seven mixed gender events on the 2004 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour this season. The women's gold medal match was won Saturday by Kerri Walsh and Rachel Wacholder of the United States as they defeated top-seeded Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede of Brazil for the title and the $40,500 first-place prize.