Women's competition, Osaka
From 2 June To 6 June 2004

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Osaka Hosts 11th Women's Event
Osaka, Japan, May 31, 2004 - The women's SWATCH-FIVB World Tour returns to Tannowa Beach for the 11th-straight season as the Olympic qualifying process for the Athens 2004 Games continues when the world's top Beach Volleyball players compete in the Japan Open in Osaka for US$180,000 in prize money.

Competition begins Wednesday (June 2) with the first of two days of qualifying. Thrity-two (32) teams will be competing in the Qualification Tournament that determines the final eight berths in the double-elimination Main Draw, which begins Friday with 40 matches to advance 16 teams to Saturday's rounds.

Another 18 matches will be played Saturday with four teams advancing to Sunday's semi-finals and medal matches. The "final four" tandems will be competing for $70,000 in prize money with the winning team sharing the $27,000 for capturing the gold medal.

Brazilian women will be seeking their eight-straight Japanese title as Osaka, the "City of Water," has become synonymous with Beach Volleyball. Osaka has hosted more SWATCH-FIVB World Tour events than any other international site with teams from Australia, Brazil and the United States winning titles.

The United States (1994 and 1995) and Australia (1996) won the first three events before Brazil started its run in 1997 when Mônica Rodrigues and Adriana Samuel captured the title by defeating Maike Friedrichsen and Danja Musch of Germany in the final. Both Mônica and Musch will be competing this season, but with different partners.

Five-time Osaka gold medallists Shelda Bede and Adriana Behar will be making their eighth-straight appearance on Tannowa Beach this season. The Brazilian pair started their run of titles in 1998 before having their gold medal streak snapped in 2003 when Brazilian rivals Ana Paula Connelly and Sandra Pires defeated them in the final.

After opening women's Olympic qualifying events in Brazil, Greece and China, the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour departs Osaka for a weekend off before the final three Olympic qualifying events in Switzerland, Germany and Norway. The Beach Volleyball competition at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games will be played August 14-25.

Year - Osaka Gold Medal / Osaka Silver Medal / Osaka Bronze Medal
1994 - Barbra Fontana/Lori Forsythe, USA / Isabel Salgado/Roseli Timm, Brazil / Liz Masakayan /Karolyn Kirby, USA
1995 - Nancy Reno/Holly McPeak, USA / Linda Hanley/Angela Rock, USA / Sandra Pires/Jackie Silva, Brazil
1996 - Natalie Cook/Kerri Pottharst, Australia / Danalee Bragado/Pat Keller, USA / Sarah Straton /Liane Fenwick, Australia
1997 - Adriana Samuel/Monica Rodrigues, Brazil / Maike Friedrichsen/Danja Musch, Germany / Shelda Bede/Adriana Behar, Brazil
1998 - Shelda/Adriana, Brazil / Sandra Pires/Adriana Samuel, Brazil / Lisa Arce/McPeak, USA
1999 - Shelda/Adriana, Brazil / Cook/Pottharst, Australia / Ana Paula/Jackie Silva, Brazil
2000 - Shelda/Adriana, Brazil / Mika Teru Saiki/Yukiko Takahashi, Japan / Cook/Pottharst, Australia
2001 - Shelda/Adriana, Brazil / Misty May /Kerri Walsh, USA / Elaine Youngs/Fontana, USA
2002 - Shelda/Adriana, Brazil / Ana Paula/Tatiana Minello, Brazil / May/Walsh, USA
2003 - Ana Paula/Pires, Brazil / Shelda/Adriana, Brazil / Cook/Nicole Sanderson, Australia