The Australian women’s goalball team, the Aussie Belles are eager to return to the court at the 2017 IBSA Goalball Asia Pacific Championships in Bangkok, Thailand, to compete for a place at next year’s World Championships.

Having received a late call-up to the Rio Paralympic Games following the IPC’s decision to suspend Russia from last year’s Games, the team is excited to test their improvement from their fifth place finish.

“The team is looking forward to taking on the challenge of playing and defeating China, ranked two in the world, and Japan ranked five in the world, along with three other teams from our region,” Australian head coach Peter Corr said.

“The mountain is a big one to climb. The Belles faced a mentally demanding experience in Rio, especially with such a late call-up to the Games and limited preparation.”

After assessing their last international performance in Rio, athletes made a commitment to plan for the ongoing development of the team through to Tokyo and beyond, sharing their experience of playing at the top level of competition to fast-track youth development.

Making her international debut in Thailand is exciting new prospect Alison Jones, who has worked hard to adapt to the demands of competing at the highest level.

Showing improvement in her throwing strength and technique, Corr is confident Jones will make an important contribution to the team’s future success.

“Alison has worked incredibly hard to develop her game and adapt to the demands of preparing at the top level. Responding well to the team demands to improve as a defensive unit, she will support the ongoing commitment of our more experienced team members,” Corr said.

Joining Jones will be Rio 2016 representatives Jennifer Blow, Nicole Esdaile, Meica Horsburgh, Raissa Martin and Tyan Taylor, and on staff will be coach Simon Smith and physiotherapist Kerri Caruso.

“This team are a proud and determined group of women and I am proud to coach them,” Corr said.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to show the world the improvements we have made and earn our place at next year’s World Championships in Sweden.

“With this in mind, we also have our eyes firmly set on developing as a unit, with a medal at Tokyo 2020 a serious goal.”

The 2017 IBSA Goalball Asia Pacific Championships take place in Bangkok, Thailand from August 19-27.

By APC Media

Posted: 11/8/2017