Curtis McGrath (Australia) – Nominee for the 2018 Sportsman of the Year award
Born: 1988, Represents: Australia, Sport: Canoe Sprint
- 2018: World Champion KL2 200 & VL3 200
- 2017: World Champion KL2 200 & VL2 200
- 2016: Paralympic Champion KL2 200, World Champion KL2 200 & VL2 200
In 2012, whilst serving with the Australian Army in Afghanistan, Curtis McGrath stepped on an improvised explosive device and lost both of his legs. Whilst being transported to the rescue helicopter he famously said "you guys will see me in the Paralympics.” Fast-forward six years and he has well and truly delivered on this promise, with the Australian being the reigning KL2 200m Paralympic champion, as well as a now eight-time World Champion.
With two years to go until the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games, where he can yet again deliver on this promise, McGrath is leaving no stone unturned on his quest for double gold. Winning both the KL2 and VL3 categories at the 2018 Canoe Sprint World Championships, McGrath has now been unbeaten for five years in the Va’a, and three years in the Kayak. A feat that very few athletes worldwide have achieved.
In his first race of the Championships, the KL2 200, Curtis was pushed right to the line by New Zealander Scott Marlew in a race that was thrilling to watch. His time of 41.735 was quicker than the times he set winning the 2017 World Title and the 2016 Paralympic gold medal, which is a great sign for the 30-year-old.
After being reclassified from the VL3 to VL2 this season, McGrath knew he was in for some tough competition, but he showed pure class, leading the race from start to finish. This double gold for McGrath is a good sign ahead of the Tokyo Paralympics, when the Va’a category will be introduced for the first time.
Curtis’ achievements are a testament to his hard work, determination and the way he is able to remain composed and deliver in such high-pressure situation. As a great role model and ambassador, the possibilities for Curtis McGrath both on and off the water are limitless. All we know is that he is destined for greatness.
*For his outstanding achievements at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games and World Championships, Curtis McGrath won the award for the Sportsman of the Year at the 2017 World Paddle Awards.
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