a male Para canoeist on the water

Curtis McGrath


With the Va’a boats added to the Tokyo 2020 Games programme, Curtis McGrath can now target two Paralympic medals. McGrath – gold medallist of the men’s KL2 at Rio 2016, where canoe made its Paralympic debut – won both disciplines at the last two World Championships and is going for another double at the 2019 edition in Szeged, Hungary. 

The Australian took up the sport in December 2013, having lost his legs in a mine blast while serving in the Australian army in Afghanistan.

In 2014, almost two years after losing his legs, he won the 200m VL2 world title in a world record time in Moscow, Russia.

When the Paralympic events for Rio 2016 were announced, McGrath started competing in kayak events as well.

At the 2015 World Championships, in Milan, Italy, he won a gold medal in the men's 200m VL2 and a silver medal in the 200m KL2. He followed that up with two titles at the 2016 World Championships in Duisburg, Germany.

But far from feeling satisfied, McGrath went on to claim Paralympic gold in Rio, ahead of Austrian rival Markus Swoboda. McGrath has not slowed down since.