TWO Bendigo skiers have helped propel Australia to an historic first Disabled World Water Ski Championships win.
Jason Sleep and his training partner Will Kelly were part of a 10-member team which delivered Australia gold at Myuna Bay, near Newcastle, this month.
Sleep, who bettered his own tricks world record, won gold in slalom and tricks, while Kelly finished second behind his coach in the tricks event.
But it was the gold medal both received as part of the world champion team that Sleep, who like Kelly was left a paraplegic after a road accident, said rated as the most memorable.
"There's a lot of hard work gone into it, a lot of training but it all worked out," he said
"(The Australian team) scored the highest score ever at the championships and took our first gold as a team.
"This was my third world championships, I've missed out on two through injury, but this was all positive.
"I'm stoked we came back with team gold, that was the aim.
"I've had a few injuries, so it could possible be my last world championships, so I was glad to get gold with this team."
The Australians, who finished second at the last world championships in 2015, won gold ahead of perennial powerhouse and reigning champions the United States, with Italy in third place.
Sleep praised the efforts of 26-year-old Kelly and believed it would not be to long before his training partner was beating him at major events.
"He skied really well. It was his second worlds and last time he finished 10th in tricks and this time he's ended up second," he said.
"In terms of the team, we won the jumps (event) with all three podium finishers from Australia.
"In tricks there was two out of three, so Will is coming along very nicely.
"The hard work is paying off."
Sleep, who spends his time away from the water delivering a wheelchair basketball program for the Australian Sports Commission across Victorian schools, and Kelly train up to five days a week on the Loddon River at Bridgewater.
It was there earlier this year where the Bendigo pair broke a 30-year-old disabled water ski tricks world record at the Australian Masters Water Ski Championships.
Sleep said he would take the winter off before he and Kelly started their next campaign in September.
"It looks like it's going to be Norway or France where we go to, we won't know until about October," he said..
"We'll be training pretty hard the next two years non-stop."