By Paul Osborne

Australia's men's and women's goalball teams will travel to Beijing for the IBSA Asia Pacific Goalball Championships todayNovember 11 - Australia will return to the goalball world stage this week as their men's and women's teams travel to Beijing to compete in the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Asia Pacific Goalball Championships.

The women's team will face Paralympic gold and silver medallist as they compete in their first major tournament since London 2012.

Competing for a place in the 2014 World Championships in Espoo, Finland, the Australian team will be up against Paralympic gold medallists Japan and silver medallists China, as well as Iran, in a round robin competition before the finals competition begins on Saturday (November 16).

A year after their international debut at London 2012, where they failed to win a game, the women's team feel they have made some vast improvements to their game.

"We learnt a lot of lessons in London and we've come back and worked on improving our accuracy with the ball, our trapping and also developing each player's strategic understanding of the game," said Australian women's head coach, Georgina Kenaghan.

"This tournament is an important benchmark for us to see where we sit in the world, and obviously very important from a qualification perspective.

"But it is more than that.

"I really want the girls to get some good wins under their belts so they can prove to themselves that they are capable of competing against the best teams in the world."

The Australian women will face tough opposition in Chinas silver medal winning London Paralympic teamThe Australian women will face tough opposition in China's silver medal winning London Paralympic team

The tournament, which is due to begin otoday, will see the Australian men's team compete in their first international competition since their devastating extra-time defeat to Algeria at the Africa Oceania Regional Goalball Championships in 2011, which saw them miss out on Paralympic qualification.

New team head coach, Murray Elbourn, says the team are excited to be back on the international stage after such a prolonged break.

"The team bounced back surprisingly well from missing out on qualification," said Elbourn.

"It could have sounded the end for some of our top tier players who had been in the side for years but instead they've rebounded well, and trained hard for two years.

"The team said to me that this has been the best preparation for a tournament they've had and they're in the best physical and mental shape than ever before.

"They've done the hard work.

"After the loss to Algeria, they had a choice to give up or give it all they have, and now we're in a really good position."

The men will face Beijing 2008 gold medallists China, as well as Mongolia, Thailand, Iran and Japan in a similar round robin competition to the women.

"China and Iran have been ranked in the top three for the last four years and playing that quality opposition is great for our team," Elbourn added.

"This is an important benchmark competition for us and will help us not only improve the current men's team, but put measures in place to help develop up and coming players."

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