Men's competition, Mallorca
From 7 July To 11 July 2004

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SANTA PONSA, MALLORCA, July 8, 2004 - Second-seeded Stephane Canet and Mathieu Hamel of France had to forfeit their final qualification match here Thursday due to an injury in the US$360,000 Mallorca Open, but still can advance to the Main Draw in the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour event.

Depending on the condition of Canet's neck and shoulder injury, the French pair can continue Friday as the "lucky losers" from the 35-team Qualification Tournament due to the Main Draw withdrawal of Switzerland's Patrick Heuscher and Stefan Kobel, who is hampered by a calf injury suffered two weeks ago in Germany.

Canet and Hamel are currently 19th on the Olympic qualifying list with 1,056 points to rank ahead of teams from Puerto Rico, Austria and Canada. If the French play Friday, they must finish 13th or better this weekend to improve their point total for their best eight finishes since the start of the Olympic qualifying process in January 2003.

Bulgaria's 19th-seeded Milen Stoyanov and Boris Yankov benefited from Canet's injury to receive a berth in the 32-team Main Draw. It marks only the third-time in 10 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour events this season that Stoyanov and Yankov have advanced from the qualifier to a Main Draw. The Bulgarians also earned Main Draw berths in Portugal and Puerto Rico last month.

In addition to teams from Brazil, Cuba, Germany and the Netherlands winning qualifying matches Thursday to advance to the Friday's opening Main Draw rounds, three other teams seeking a spot in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games also earned berths in the Mallorca Open "money" rounds.

The teams of Roman Arkaev/Ditmitri Barsouk (974 points) of Russia, Jody Holden/Conrad Leinemann (832) of Canada and Satoshi Watanabe/Katsuhiro Shiratori (714) of Japan also scored qualifying wins Thursday to keep their Olympic hopes alive.

All three rank outside the top 22 for the Athens Olympic Games since Greece and the African continent will receive the final two spots in the 24-team field. Colin Petcock and Garson Reich of South Africa have the edge for the African berth as Mario Silva and Miguel Exist of Angola were eliminated from the qualifier Wednesday by the Bulgarians.

Canada's John Child and Mark Cheese currently fill the 22nd spot with 998 points. Also in the mix is Krista Kais/Rive Vedic of Estonia, who have compiled 962 points for their best eight finishes. The Estonians placed fourth earlier this season in the Serbia and Montenegro Open.

The fourth of five-straight mixed gender events, the women's Mallorca Open Main Draw started Thursday with the finals Saturday where the winning team shares the $27,000 first-place prize. After the opening men's Main Draw rounds Friday, the men's final will be Sunday afternoon.