Curtis McGrath
Curtis McGrath claimed his 12 global title at the Paracanoe world championships in Hungary. Image by HANDOUT/PADDLE AUSTRALIA
  • canoeing and kayaking

McGrath warms up for Paris Paralympics with world title

AAP May 11, 2024

Triple Paralympic gold medallist Curtis McGrath has delivered a strong message to his rivals ahead of the Paris Games.

With little more than 100 days to go before the Paralympics get under way in the French capital, McGrath claimed his 12th global title when he won the men’s KL2 200 at the paracanoe world championships. 

McGrath and teammate Susan Seipel took out gold and bronze respectively to put the Aussies on the medal tally early in Hungary.

McGrath staged a strong come-from-behind win to finish ahead of David Phillipson of Great Britain and Brazil’s Fernando Rufino de Paulo. 

“It’s nice to get another world championship, my 12th … I’m just over the moon,” he said. 

“There are some good conditions, the tail wind is gone and we’ve got a bit of a head wind now.

“I didn’t have the greatest start, I wasn’t that connected, but I got there and went with the crowd and sort of saved myself for the last 100 metres … then I had a second kick and came through the field and managed to finish No.1. 

“It’s nice to have this hit out before the Games. We find where our weaknesses are, find where our strengths are … so we can get into the next block of training and really work towards the Paris Games in a few months’ time.” 

 Susan Seipel claimed bronze at the paracanoe world championships in Szeged, Hungary. Image by HANDOUT/PADDLE AUSTRALIA 

Dual Paralympic medallist Seipel was thrilled to take bronze in the VL2 200m behind Great Britain’s Emma Wiggs and Canadian Brianna Hennessy.

It’s positive signs for Seipel who is aiming to add to her Paralympic silver and bronze medals.  

For the Australian Olympic kayak team there is slightly more pressure with just less than 80 days to go until Paris.

The Szeged meet will also be their final international World Cup before the Games.

The team got off to a strong start in the opening heats of the day. 

Defending Olympic champions Tom Green and Jean van der Westhuyzen won their heat to put them through to the A Final of the men’s K2 500. 

Off to her third Olympics, Alyce Woods qualified straight through to the A Final after winning her K1 1000m heat. 

In the K4 500 women, the Aussie team of Ally Clarke, Aly Bull, Yale Steinepreis and Elle Beere also advanced to the A Final. 

The Australian men’s team of Riley Fitzsimmons, Pierre van der Westhuyzen, Jackson Collins and Noah Havard, won their heat in the K4 500 to book their spot in the A Final. 

Defending paracanoe world champion Dylan Littlehales won the KL3 men 200m heat to put him through to the semi-final alongside fellow Aussie Mark Daniels.