Gstaad, Switzerland, July 29, 2007 - Andrew Schacht and Joshua Slack ended Brazil’s run of men’s medals at the SWATCH-FIVB World Championships as the Australians upset top-ranked Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos here Sunday afternoon before a jammed-packed crowd of 7,000 Beach Volleyball fans for the bronze medal match.
With their 21-17 and 21-19 win in 42 minutes, Schacht and Slack also became the first Australian men’s team to medal at the world championships as the Athens 2004 Olympians collected their biggest payday on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour with $US$35,000 for the third-place finish.
“It is a great day now,” said the 30-year old Slack, “especially after we played so poorly in the morning semi-finals against the Russians. We have been playing together for a long-time now, so today’s medal really is a result of a lot of hard work. And, this finish comes in the biggest event in our sport outside of the Olympics.”
Ninth-place finishers in Athens where the Aussies were defeated by Emanuel and Ricardo in pool play, Schacht and Slack have now placed second and third in two of their past four SWATCH stops this season. Sunday’s win was also the Aussies fourth victory in 11 meetings with the Brazilians.
With a fourth-place finish for a check of $28,000 in the $1-million “Beach Bash” in the Swiss Alps, Emanuel and Ricardo were seeking to maintain Brazil’s streak of medaling in each of the six SWATCH-FIVB World Championships. In the first five editions of the world finals, Brazil had collected gold medals in 1997, 1999, 2003 and 2005 with a total of seven podium placements.
With Russia and the United States competing for the gold medal, the South American continent will not have a world champion as Mariano Baracetti and Martin Conde captured the 2001 event in Austria where the Argentine pair defeated Ricardo and Jose Loiola in the Klagenfurt finals.
Schacht and Slack started Sunday with a 21-13 and 21-19 semi-final setback to Russians Dmitri Barsouk and Igor Kolodinsky. Emanuel and Ricardo, who captured the 2003 SWATCH-FIVB World Championships in Rio de Janeiro, were eliminated from gold medal contention by Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers 21-16, 13-21 and 19-17 in a 68-minute semi-final match.
The eighth of 13 double gender stops on the 2007 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour, the women’s 2007 SWATCH-FIVB World Championships ended Saturday with reigning Olympic champions May-Treanor and Walsh defeating Jia Tian and Jie Wang of China 21-16 and 21-10 for their third-straight world title.