Men's competition, Rio de Janeiro
From 21 September To 26 September 2004

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Olympic Gold Medallists Greet SWATCH-FIVB World Tour Men's Field
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, September 22, 2004 - After leaving Greece almost a month ago with gold medals, Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos return to SWATCH-FIVB World Tour competition here Wednesday as the No. 1-seeded team in the US$360,000 Banco do Brasil Open, the final event on the 2004 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour for both men and women.

Emanuel and Ricardo will also be attempting to validate themselves as the best tandem among the seven Brazilian teams in the 32-team men's Main Draw that saw the host country gain another three berths here Tuesday following the 18-team Qualification Tournament. The Olympic Champions also enter the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour season finale as the season's points winners (3,840 points) and seven titles, including the Athens gold medal.

Advancing for Brazil from Tuesday's qualifier to the Main Draw were Pará Ferreira/Pedro Cunha, Fabio de Jesus Magalhães/Paulo Emilio Silva and Bruno De Paula and Rodrigo Monteiro. In addition to Emanuel and Ricardo, other Brazilian teams earning automatic Main Draw berths due to their SWATCH-FIVB World Tour rankings were Franco Neto/Tande Ramos and Benjamin Insfran/Marcio Araujo. Harley Marques and Fred Souza of Brazil were awarded a "wild card."

Other teams advancing to the Main Draw were Jason Lochhead/Kirk Pitman of New Zealand, Fabio Galli/Andrea Raffaelli of Italy, Thanassis Michalopoulos/Emmanouil Xenakis of Greece, Marvin Polte/Thorsten Schoen and Phil Dalhausser/Adam Roberts of the United States.

"We have been on an hectic pace since returning from Athens," said Emanuel, who finally achieved Olympic success after placing ninth in both the Atlanta 1996 (with Ze Marco de Melo) and Sydney 2000 (with Jose Loiola) Summer Games. "It has been a wonderful scene the past month, but we haven't found a lot of time to play volleyball. We'll be ready this week and the entire field will be out to defeat the Olympic champions."

On the Brazilian domestic tour, Emanuel and Ricardo rank behind Magalhães and Paulo Emilio. With six of 12 events completed on the Brazilian domestic tour, Magalhães and Paulo Emilio have won three of six stops to compile 1,680 points.

Emanuel and Ricardo have captured two titles and 1,640 points. Franco Neto and Tande Ramos are the No. 3 team on the Brazilian circuit with 1,600 points and one title. Benjamin and Marcio, who placed ninth in the Olympics, are fourth on the Brazilian tour with 1,400 points and two seconds.

With Ricardo capturing his second-straight Olympic medal after netting the silver at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, the Banco do Brasil Open also features four other Olympic medal playing winning players from the Athens 2004 Games.

Athens bronze medallists Patrick Heuscher and Stefan Kobel of Switzerland are in the field along with Spaniards Javier Bosma and Pablo Herrera, who are playing with different partners this week after losing to Emanuel and Ricardo in the Athens finale. Bosma will play with Juan Garcia Thompson this week while Herrera will compete with Raul Mesa on Copacabana.

Presented by the Rio de Janeiro City Council, the mixed gender event continues through Sunday. The women's medal matches will be played Saturday with the men's bronze and gold medal matches set for Sunday.