Men and several women from Beaudesert and surrounds heard the inspiring story of soldier turned sporting star Curtis McGrath at the Scenic Rim’s 2022 International Men’s Day dinner at The Centre.
See photos at end of story, below.
In 2012, McGrath was serving as a combat engineer with the Australian Army when he stepped on an improvised explosive device and lost both his legs.
Only 20 minutes after losing his legs, as he was being stretchered from the bomb site, McGrath vowed he would one day compete at the Paralympic Games.
He went on to do just that, deciding on canoeing – a sport he loved to do in his younger days in New Zealand before enlisting with the Australian Army.
In 2013, McGrath and other wounded war veterans kayaked nearly 1000km from Sydney to Brisbane with the support of Mates4Mates. His father joined him on the journey.
He was then selected for the Australian Sprint Canoe Team, travelling to Russia to compete in the World Championship.
Ultimately, he was selected for the Paralympic Games in Rio 2016, where he won gold in the 200m KL2 event and was honoured to carry the Australian flag at the Closing Ceremony
At the Tokyo 2020 games in 2021, McGrath claimed double gold, becoming the first paracanoe athlete in the world to claim two gold medals in the paracanoe event.
Now, he has his sights set on the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.
At the International Men’s Day dinner, McGrath spoke from the heart in a talk titled Triumph over Tragedy.
He got up to speak after local community leader and singer Brad Currie provided live music and a Welcome to Country and Mayor Greg Christensen shared about the importance of International Men’s Day and the 2022 theme of mateship.
McGrath spoke about looking to where you’re going, to help overcome tragedy.
“Since being injured in Afghanistan I’ve been given a new perspective on life – now I understand what a pretty bad day is and in order to succeed, you need failure,” he said.
“It makes you realise the process to achieve those goals, to get through those challenges, is important and what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.”