WARRNAMBOOL Paralympian export Kathryn Ross and rowing partner Gavin Bellis have outfoxed race favourites France to claim gold in the World Rowing Championships in Korea.
The duo won the Trunk and Arms Mixed Double Scull last night to claim Australia's second gold medal in the regatta.
In an earlier heat the two crews held a clear gap to the rest of the field, with a thrilling finish as the last 500 metres saw them battle stroke for stroke before the French edged out the Aussies at the line by less than a second.
In the gold medal rematch the crew of Ross and Bellis, Paralympic finalists in London 2012, got off to a good start and the race was quickly reduced to a battle between the Australians and Paralympic Silver medallists France for the Gold medal, with all other crews forced to battle for bronze.
At the half way mark the Aussie crew just had their bow in front but threw down the challenge to the French crew, a race-winning move which opened up a gap that would never be closed.
The final 200 metres belonged to the Australians as they crossed the line to claim the title of World Champions.
Ross, who previously won silver at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games but never topped the podium at a World Championships, was delighted with the result.
“We worked at it all week, we came from the winter at home where it was -3 degrees so it was a bit of a shock," she said.
"After seven years it’s the first time we’ve won the championships.”
Rowing Australia’s national high performance director Chris O’Brien paid tribute to the athletes and their coaches.
“The close working relationship that Erik has formed with his coach Jason Baker, and that Kathryn and Gavin have formed with their coach Gordon Marcks played a major part in today’s success,” O’Brien said.
“The gold medals are a fantastic reward for the crews and their coaches and really validate all of the hard work that they’ve put in over the course of the year.
"We are all very excited by today’s performances and look forward to both crews continuing to improve as we head towards Rio."