McGrath paddles to gold

Five years after an IED accident changed his life forever, Invictus Games Sydney 2018 Ambassador, Sapper Curtis McGrath OAM, won two gold medals at the 2017 International Canoe Federation’s (ICF) Para-Canoe World Championships.

In winning the men’s KL2 and VL2 200 metres events, McGrath secured his status as a dual world champion for a second consecutive year and collected the sixth world title of his career.

In the KL2, McGrath clocked 41.758 seconds to claim an impressive but tight victory over Austrian Markus Swoboda who crossed the line 0.75 seconds later.

It was equally close in the VL2, but McGrath held on for the winning, finishing in 50.628 ahead of Swoboda who crossed at 52.312.

The victories come five years McGrath lost both legs below the knee when he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) while serving in Afghanistan.

“There’s a bit of significance, but it’s just a sub-thought to what really matters on the start line,” said McGrath.

“I like to think I get out there and make the most of the opportunities that I’ve got.

”There are a lot of guys who are going through a tough time back in the military and outside the military with their post-traumatic stress and what’s happened to them in their service.

“So if I can show that getting out there and getting active leads to a positive and healthy life, it’s the least I can do really.”

McGrath’s stoic attitude is a testament to the healing power of sport and its ability to help overcome a life changing incident.

“Invictus Games is not all about winning, it plays a more important role in showing that sport can play a vital part of recovery for all types of injuries and illnesses,” he said.

McGrath is part of Australia’s 43-member team that will compete at Invictus Games Toronto 2017. He has been selected to compete in the indoor rowing and wheelchair rugby.

McGrath holds a great passion for the Invictus Games and will continue to be a voice for the Games in Sydney 2018.