“Making it to Rio was a goal that I set three years ago for me to work towards.”
The Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) has announced the six athletes who will compete in Para canoe at the Rio 2016 Games this September.
The sport will appear in the Paralympic Games for the first time, and war veteran and reigning world champion Curtis McGrath will lead the charge, along with 2015 world champion Amanda Reynolds. Rising stars Susan Seipel, Colin Sieders, Dylan Littlehales and Jocelyn Nuemuller complete the team.
The APC announced the team at Varsity Lakes Sportshouse on the Gold Coast on Thursday (16 June), during one of the team’s final training camps on home soil before the Games begin on 7 September.
Currently ranked as one of world’s top nations in the sport, Australia has won 16 World Championship medals – including seven golds, four silvers and five bronzes – since the discipline was first introduced to the Worlds in 2010.
“We have a young team, dedicated to showing the world what they are capable of. All six are in strong form and training exceptionally hard, and no doubt their results will put the sport into the spotlight in Australia, for it to continue developing at an accelerated pace,” Kate McLoughlin, Chef de Mission of the 2016 Australian Paralympic Team.
McGrath, a double-leg amputee who lost his legs while serving as an Australian Army combat engineer in Afghanistan, is set to be a favourite for gold in the KL2 class.
“I’ve done it once before on the battlefield in an army uniform and it’s a great honour to now be able to represent Australia again wearing green and gold,” McGrath said.
“The goal of wanting to be the best at something, it’s a strange feeling to think you’re the best in the world at something, or close to it, and it’s quite unique.
“I’m working each day, knowing everything I am doing, those moments go towards me being on the podium again,” he said.
Reynolds is looking forward to making her Paralympic debut, and is feeling confident about the competition ahead, despite losing the world title and taking silver at this year’s World Championships in Duisburg, Germany.
However, she will look to avenge that loss in Rio.
“Making it to Rio was a goal that I set three years ago for me to work towards,” Reynolds said. “To reach that goal is a big box ticked, but I think everyone’s goal now is to make the centre spot on the dais.
“It’s so surreal, I’m beginning to go into race mode now, becoming focussed on the water ahead so I don’t get overwhelmed when we go to compete in Rio.”
2016 Australian Paralympic Canoe Team
Sport fans from around the world can now buy their Paralympic tickets for Rio 2016 from authorised ticket resellers (ATRs)
The IPC’s Global ATR is Jet Set Sports, and Rio 2016 tickets and packages can be purchased on the CoSport website.
Residents of Brazil can buy 2016 Paralympics tickets directly from the Rio 2016 website.