Australian McGrath embarks on second season

After winning many accolades in his debut season, Curtis McGrath is now looking ahead to Rio 2016 05 Dec 2014
Man in canoe in triumphant pose

Australian para-canoeist Curtis McGrath is now looking ahead to Rio 2016.

ⒸICF Photographer Balint Vekassy

Australia’s para-canoe world champion Curtis McGrath will commence his second competitive season at Grand Prix 1 (GP1) in Adelaide, Australia, on Friday (5 December).

When he reflects on 2014 he describes it as "pretty amazing" and rightly so.

The 26-year-old won the V1 200 TA gold at the Para-canoe World Championships in record time. The historic win followed victories at the Oceania and National Championships.

The accolades followed with the New Zealand born paddler winning the Australian Canoeing Para-canoeist of the Year and People's choice award, as well as the Athlete of the Year with a disability at the Queensland Sports Awards.

His achievements are a remarkable feat considering the challenges he faced initially when he made his racing debut at the Queensland Championships in January.

"At that stage I was having trouble going in a straight line so I was just worried about finishing in my lane," McGrath said.

Fast forward 12 months and he is on track to achieve his goal of competing at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

A goal he declared while be laid on a stretcher after stepping on an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan.

Next year will be a big 12 months for McGrath and his Australian teammates with Olympic and Paralympic boat quotas up for grabs.

Compared to a year earlier, McGrath feels he now knows what to expect and will be using GP1 to measure where he is at compared to his fellow paddlers.

"This event is all about just doing the best that I can," he said.

"It is really a benchmark competition to see whether I am on track, where I am at compared to the rest and what areas I can improve in."

The Varsity Lakes athlete will contest the V1 200, V1 500 and V1 1000 TA events over the course of the event.