By David Gold

aus womens_goalball_21-11-11November 20 - Australia's women have qualified for the London 2012 Paralympic Games with a 6-2 victory over New Zealand in the Africa Oceania Goalball Regional Championships in Sydney, though their male counterparts missed out in agonising fashion to Algeria in their final.

Meica Christensen struck three times for the women as they ensured they would be travelling to London next year, but the men lost 5-4 to a golden goal after the scores finished level in normal time, with captain Mohamed Mokrane scoring all of Algeria's goals at the Sydney Olympic Park.

It was a case of third time still unlucky for Australia, who had lost twice before to the North Africans in the competition, with their coach Rob Apps saying afterwards that "sport is a cruel thing."

He added: "Algeria showed what a quality team they are, it was always going to be tough for us but we gave ourselves the best chance."

The women, though, were delighted with their victory and coach Georgina Kenagha praised her side's mental fortitude after the success.

"It's really nerve-wracking coming into a final under this much pressure but they held out really well," she said.

"I'm ecstatic.

"The pressure's been tough and it's been a big learning curve coming in to a tournament with such a big expectation.

"They've handled it really well and to contain that sort of nervous energy is really tough but they remained calm and got the result."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]