CARACAS, Venezuela, January 11, 2004 - Two great performances from Marcos Milinkovic and Jorge Elgueta helped Argentina book their Athens 2004 Olympic Games spot after beating Venezuela in straight sets 25-18, 25-19, 25-23 in the final match of the South American Men's Olympic Qualification tournament on Sunday in Caracas.
In front of 12,000 Venezuelan fans in the Poliedro Stadium Milinkovic and Elgueta were in sublime form recording 17 and 15 points respectively to lead the few Argentinean fans and players into scenes of joy after 70 minutes as the blue and whites joined Brazil as the two South American representatives at Athens. Fabian Armoa's team never lost focus and were particularly effective in blocking Ernardo Gómez, keeping the Venezuelan star to only six points.
Argentina finished the tournament unbeaten in what was a magnificent feat, especially after beating Venezuela who are current Pan American champions and 2003 World Cup representatives.
Venezuela will now have to play the World Qualification Olympic tournament in Europe.
In the other match on the final day, Peru beat Chile 25-15, 27-29, 22-25, 18-25 in 92 minutes.
VENEZUELA: Andy Rojas, Rodman Valera, Carlos Luna, Ronald Méndez, Ernardo Gómez, Iván Márquez, -starting team-, Gustavo Valderrama (libero), Thomás Ereú, Carlos Tejada, Juan Carlos Blanco, Luis Díaz, Fredy Cedeño. Coach: Miguel Cambero.
ARGENTINA: Marcos Milinkovic, Jorge Elgueta, Gustavo Porporato, Hernán Ferraro, Alejandro Spajic, Gastón Giani,-starting team-, Pablo Meana (libero), Jerónimo Bidegain. Coach: Fabián Armoa.