on the eve of Tokyo Paralympic Games, another theme took over the news. The advance of the Taliban extremist group, which has already prevented Afghan athletes from participating in the Paralympics, fueled terror in the country. Nine years ago, Paracanoe Curtis McGrath lost both his legs trying to fight the terrorists who ruled the Afghanistan. The information was published by ‘ge’.
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After having his legs shattered by explosives dropped by the Taliban, McGrath was already betting he could be one of Australia’s top parathletes: ‘You’ll see me in the Paralympics’. Today, the former soldier seeks to repeat the feat he achieved in Rio 2016, when he was a gold medalist.
– It was just a comment, I think. At the time, it didn’t mean anything, I was just trying to give the guys a little hope. As it was their trauma too, I was hoping it would give them a little comfort, like “I’ll be fine folks, my legs are gone, but I can go to the Games” – said McGrath.
A year after the trauma, in 2013, the Australian was already in a canoe to start training. A few months earlier, McGrath had fitted a prosthetic leg. In Rio de Janeiro, the rehabilitation has paid off: the athlete won the 200 meter speed paracanoe event in the KL2 class and even broke the Paralympic record. At the closing ceremony, he was Australia’s flag bearer at Maracanã.
– Rio was an incredible experience. Having friends and family there with me, going to Christ the Redeemer, going out with a gold medal. But the most amazing thing was carrying the flag at the end. Having this kind of recognition for my efforts was special and made me very proud – he says.
– Sport helped me to take a new approach to life and my ambitions. I believe it helped me to avoid mental health problems, because it gave me a purpose, a focus, to set a goal and go after it – says McGrath.
Over the fear that the Taliban has been imposing in the world, he questions the group’s resumption of power. In recent weeks, scenes of despair have been seen in different regions of Afghanistan, especially in Kabul.
– Was it worth losing my legs? Before last week, I would have no problem saying yes. I was irritated at first, and angry. We train and equip 300,000 Afghans. And it looks like they just handed over their weapons to the Taliban. So yes, at first I wondered if it was all worth it, after the price we paid in lives and members. I’ve been trying to gauge the thoughts of my fellow veterans and it’s mixed feelings. Some are a little embarrassed and angry about the situation. And they have every right to feel that way – laments the ex-soldier.