Marseille, France, July 8, 2006 - For the second-straight week on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour, Brazil collected all the medals for a double gender Beach Volleyball event as the South American women finished what the men started here Saturday in the US$400,000 le World Series 13.
The Brazilian sweep was completed when seventh-seeded Leila Barros and Ana Paula Connelly captured the women’s le World Series 13 bronze medal by defeating second-seeded Wang Jie and Tian Jia of China 21-19, 17-21 and 20-18 in 67 minutes.
All that was left Saturday was the women’s gold medal match on the Plages du Prado centre court where top-seeded Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca scored a 21-19 and 25-23 win in 55 minutes over third-seeded Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede.
It marked the second-straight week the two teams played for a SWATCH title. Juliana and Larissa defeated their rivals last Saturday in Stavanger, Norway. Saturday’s win was Juliana and Larissa’s ninth-straight over Adriana and Shelda, who won the first two meetings in 2004.
The Brazilian men put Leila and Ana Paula on the “spot” to secure the podium sweep for the winningest Beach Volleyball country in the world. With two teams advancing to the men’s semi-finals Friday, reigning Olympic champions Emanuel Rego/Ricardo Santos and Nalbert Bitencourt/Luizao Correa completed the All-Brazilian men’s “final four” lineup for Sunday with two elimination wins each Saturday.
The Brazilian women have now collected all three podium spots for a SWATCH event for the 15th-time. For their 10th FIVB gold medal in 18 finals, Juliana and Larissa split the $32,000 first-place prize. Adriana and Shelda, who were playing in their 60th SWATCH final with 31 titles, shared the $22,000 for second-place.
“It is great to be back on the podium in Marseille,” said Juliana, who will turn 23 on July 22. “Adriana and Shelda played much better in the final as compared to last week. Give them credit, they never give up. I thought we had them when Larissa served an ace at 16-14. They came back and had a chance to send the match to the third set. I hope we can play that strong when we reach their age.”
Saturday’s gold win lifted Juliana and Larissa past the $700,000 mark in SWATCH earnings for only 31 international events together since the start of the 2004 season. Adriana and Shelda top the earnings list with $2,055,315 for 105 international starts with Juliana and Larissa at $700,350.
Adriana (37 years old) and Shelda (33) have now competed in eight of the nine women’s le World Series 13 events with “final four” appearances each time. The Brazilians appeared in the first five Marseille finals, including gold medal finishes in 1997 and 1999. Adriana and Shelda, who missed the 2004 event due to Olympics preparations, have now shared $202,100 on the Plages du Prado.
Leila and Ana Paula, who defeated Germany’s Stephanie Pohl and Okka Rau for the Norwegian bronze medal last Saturday, split $16,000 for third-place. For the second-straight week, Leila and Ana Paula had to win country quota and qualifying matches to earn a spot in the Main Draw. Wang Jie and Tian Jian shared $12,000 for fourth-place after losing twice to Leila and Ana Paula in the competition.
The third of seven-straight SWATCH double gender events, the le World Series 13 continues through Sunday with the men’s semi-finals and medal matches. Following this week’s event, the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour visits Canada for the $400,000 Montreal Open starting Tuesday with country quota matches.