|SALVADOR, BRAZIL, March 16, 2004 - Three teams from Brazil joined tandems from Norway and the United States in advancing from the country quota playoffs here Tuesday to the opening elimination rounds of the first men's SWATCH-FIVB World Tour event of 2004.
With 40 teams entered in the Qualification Tournament, six teams were eliminated Tuesday morning due to country quota playoffs that ousted three other tandems from Brazil along with two from the United States and one from Norway.
Played in front of the Catussaba Resort Hotel, the teams advancing from the country quota playoffs for host Brazil were Fabio de Jesus Magalhães/Paulo Emilio Silva, Pedro Cunha/Pará Ferreira and Garrido, Murilo Teixeira/Thomas Klepper.
Playing in their first SWATCH-FIVB World Tour event together, the team of Cunha and Pará represents the "young and old" of Brazilian Beach Volleyball. Pará is starting his 11th-season on the international tour with eight gold medal finishes, including the 1997 World Championship title with Guilherme Marques in Los Angeles. He is playing in his 95th FIVB event compared to Cunha's second.
The 21-year old Cunha won the men's FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships U-21 championship last August in France when he and Pedro Solberg Salgado defeated Germany's Daniel Krug and Mischa Urbatzka in the gold medal match. Cunha and Adriano Fonseca won the Silver Medal at the U-21-championships in 2002 at Catania, Italy.
"I'm still young at 30," said Pará, "but Cunha makes me feel old with his youthful play. "He's going to be a good one. However, he will find that the competition is very fierce at this level and he can not rest for a second. Overall, this is our second tournament together and we are just trying to figure out what is best for our team."
Eric Fonoimoana, the Sydney 2000 Olympic Gold Medallists with Dain Blanton, and Kevin Wong won the three-team United States country quota playoffs by out-lasting Casey Jennings and Matt Fuerbringer 19-21, 21-15 and 15-12. To determine Norway's final spot in the Qualification Tournament's elimination bracket, Jon Grydeland and Magne Kobbevik ousted Vegard Lyng and Trygve Leite 21-15 and 21-15.
The two-day Qualification Tournament will place the final eight teams in the Main Draw where 24 tandems from 13 countries have already been certified, including 15 of the 16 top-ranked teams from the 2003 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour.