Paralympic Champion Curtis McGrath prepares for the next paracanoe challenge

WITH ONE EYE ON A ROYAL WEDDING, MCGRATH PREPARES FOR NEXT PARACANOE CHALLENGE

Curtis McGrath jokes that his invitation to this weekend’s royal wedding must have got lost in the post, but that even if had been invited to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s nuptials, he would have to skip it so he could concentrate on the ICF Paracanoe World Cup in Szeged, Hungary (18/19 May 2018).

“Kayaking is much more important,” McGrath laughed.

“He’s a top bloke, and good on him for getting hitched up. I didn’t get an invite – maybe it got lost in the mail!”

Such has been the life of Curtis McGrath since he first announced himself on the world stage after the London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The reigning Paralympic gold medallist and multiple world champion has also been a regular at the Invictus Games, the multi-sport event championed by Prince Harry for wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel.

McGrath, who lost both his legs in an explosion in Afghanistan in 2012, will be an Ambassador for the next edition of the Invictus Games, in Sydney later this year, where he’ll once again rub shoulders with royalty.

It’s a whirlwind existence which seems to suit the 30-year-old, who has the added incentive of a possible second event at the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo following the inclusion of the va’a (outrigger canoe) category on the program.

McGrath is a two-time world champion in the KL2 and four-time VL2 world champion.

“I had this weird feeling in Rio, where when I finished and got off the water, like immediately after,” McGrath said.

“You train so hard, and you are so prepared, and then it’s over in about 40 seconds, so you really don’t feel like you’ve committed yourself, or that you could have done more.

“So I felt like I could have added another event, and I’m glad that V1 is in there and I’m able to give that a go. I’d like to be able to stand on the podium twice in Tokyo.”

But the busy schedule has taken a toll on his preparation. His form coming into Szeged will be as much a mystery to him as it will be to everyone else.

“I feel like I’m a little bit underdone at the moment, so it will be one of those regattas where we are going to see where we are at and really identify those improvement points before the World Championships,” he said.

“My training is a little bit kayak-heavy at the moment, I’ve actually changed a few things in the way I’m starting, so trying to develop that.

“With the V1 we’re just working on some new boat developments at the moment, so I’m looking forward to getting on the water and trying out some new styles and paddles etc.”

Finals of the ICF Paracanoe World Cup in Szeged, Hungary are on Friday, 18 May.

Copy thanks to ICF Media, Ross Solly