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Argentina rich beach volleyball history about to get richer

At the start of their partnership in 2001, few would have guessed that the Conde-Baracetti pairing would experience immediate success.

Corrientes, Argentina, May 17, 2013 - With less than one week until the start of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Corrientes Grand Slam in Argentina, looks back at two of the country’s most successful stars - Martin Conde and Mariano Baracetti

In five days the Argentinean city of Corrientes will make its debut on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour when it will host the Corrientes Grand Slam from May 22 to 26.

As a country, Argentina has a great deal of experience organising international beach volleyball events, with the city of Mar del Plata having already hosted five men’s events while Buenos Aires has held one women's event in 2005.

But Argentina also has a rich beach volleyball history around the world and two of its most famous faces – Martin Conde and Mariano Baracetti – are also gearing up for the action that is to come on the sands of Corrientes.

Conde and Baracetti, beach volleyball legends in Argentina, carved out a name for themselves internationally when in 2001 they won the World Tour and then two weeks later the World Championship. It was a defining moment for the Argentinians who became the only non-Brazilian men’s team of the time to claim the World Championship title.

Their partnership came about after a chance meeting in December 2000 when Conde was playing with Esteban Martinez (who was on the team that won the bronze medal at the 1982 FIVB Volleyball World Championship in Argentina) and Baracetti was partnered with Jose Salema.

“When Martin Conde and I joined forces our main goal was to place in the world’s top 12 teams,” said Baracetti. “We were cautious. But in July 2001 we won two stages of the World Tour in Lignano (Italy) and Marseilles (France). However, this still did not position us well in the world ranking or for the World Championship. So we never really thought that we would find ourselves on the podium, which is why our win was such a high point in my career.”

The final of the World Championship that year, pitted the Argentinians against Brazilians Ricardo and Loiola. In an intense and unpredictable match, Conde and Baracetti took the title in three sets (25-23, 12-21, 20-18) in a match lasting one hour and seven minutes, with 8,000 spectators in attendance. And the accolades kept coming as Conde was chosen the Most Valuable Player at the World Championship.

On the way to the final the pair beat other established teams such as Poland’s Buchorsski-Bulkowski, Italy’s Lione-Amore, Norway’s Maaseide-Horrem, Germany’s Dieckmann-Reckermann and the North Americans Rogers-Holdren before the great final against Brazil.

Veterans of the sport acknowledge that each player had a unique individual style and technique. However, Conde’s great presence at the net as one of the world’s best defensive players when paired with Baracetti’s enviable indoor technique showed perfect complementarity.

Although they are now retired the two players continue to be heavily involved in beach volleyball, serving as an example for young Argentinian players looking to achieve the same level of success as Conde and Baracetti.

This is set to be a busy year for Argentina as Conde’s home town of Mar del Plata also gears itself to welcome the 2013 FIVB Volleyball World League Finals from July 17 to 21. As with their players, Argentina is poised to show that they can take on the world by organising a top level beach volleyball event.  

More information on the Corrientes Grand Slam can be found here

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