Curtis McGrath's 'legendary' Paralympic feat takes Australia by storm

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Seen here, Curtis McGrath celebrates after winning gold in the men's kayak single 200m KL2 final at the Tokyo Paralympics.
Curtis McGrath defended his Rio crown with gold in the men's kayak single 200m KL2 final at the Tokyo Paralympics. Pic: Getty

Australian war veteran Curtis McGrath has paddled into "legendary" status at the Paralympics after defending his Rio crown to claim gold in the men's kayak single 200m KL2 final.

McGrath - who lost his legs after stepping on an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan - powered home in Tokyo to complete an incredible back-to-back Paralympic triumph.

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The 33-year-old overcame a slow start to blitz the field in Tokyo and add another gold medal to the one he claimed in Brazil five years ago.

A rudder issue caused the 33-year-old McGrath to finish third in his heat on Thursday, forcing him to qualify for Friday's final via a semi-final that morning.

But after coolly cruising through the semi-final, recording a Paralympic best time of 41.134 seconds, the Aussie star was primed to deliver in the final - and did just that.

After a hotly contested start, McGrath burst away from the field in the final 100m to claim gold by more than a full second (1.077s), with a time of 41.426.

"I'm super happy with my performance," McGrath said.

"Going back-to-back is one of those feelings that I've confirmed to myself that I can come to the biggest event and perform."

The remarkable achievement lit up the internet as fans flooded social media with congratulatory messages for the popular Aussie.

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Curtis McGrath has second gold in his sights

Ukrainian Mykola Syniuk won silver with Italy's Federico Mancarella, who challenged McGrath early in the race, claiming bronze.

It means McGrath's campaign to win two gold medals in Tokyo is very much alive, with his VL3 200m final to come on Saturday.

The former soldier hoped the rain would "bugger off" by then and stressed he was in for a tough race against Great Britain's Stuart Wood and Brazil's Caio Ribeiro de Carvalho.

"I'm not going out there to T-bone them or stop them or fight them," he said.

"I'm going out there to race my own race and hopefully I can put it all together."

Pictured here, Aussie Curtis McGrath wins the men's KL2 200 metre sprint final at the Paralympics in Tokyo.
Curtis McGrath powers his way to gold at the Paralympics in Tokyo. Pic: Getty

Meanwhile compatriot Susan Seipel claimed a silver medal in the women's va'a single 200m VL2, adding to her KL2 Rio bronze medal.

Great Britain's Emma Wiggs won gold by more than four seconds with a time of 57.028 seconds.

Seipel crossed the line second in 1:01.481, holding off Great Britain's Jeanette Chippington.

Dylan Littlehales missed out on a bronze medal by 0.012s in the kayak singles 200m KL3.

with AAP

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