January 14, 2004 - With just over a week to go the bustling Argentine city of Mar del Plata plays host to the first Beach Volleyball event of the 2004 season with a men's Satellite event from January 23-25, 2004, in what is destined to be an entertainment feast.
Situated on the northern Atlantic coast, 400km from Buenos Aires, the beaches in the area of Mar del Plata sprawl for 8km. And with just over 500,000 inhabitants, Mar del Plata is an exuberant and attractive city, flavoured with the gentle drama of a sweeping coastline and hilly terrain.
Having hosted three World Tour Open events from 1998 to 2000, Mar del Plata is well accustomed to providing a great festival and with former world champions Mariano Baracetti & Martin Conde from Argentine in attendance the support from the local fans will be intense. The Swiss brothers of Paul and Martin Laciga, who finished third on the 2003 Swatch-FIVb World Tour rankings, have also confirmed their entry so it will be no surprise to see a repeat of years gone by where the locals of Mar del Plata queue up to claim a seat in the 4,000 strong venue and witness their Beach Volleyball stars, even for qualification matches.
With US$15,000 in prize money on the line the Mar del Plata Satellite tournament will be a great way for the 24 competing teams to start the 2004 season.
However, although the ranking points earned in the double-elimination main draw competition are valid for the FIVB World Rankings they will not count towards the Olympic Qualification Ranking.
Argentina kick starts a Satellite and Challenger calendar in 2004, which will also take in the Ukraine, Switzerland, France and Cuba.