Australia’s Para Canoe team got the Aussies off to a strong start on the opening day of the ICF Sprint and Paracanoe World Cup in Paris, with gold and a silver medal secured overnight. 

Athletes battled gusty winds at the Vaires-Sur-Marne course which will host the Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games next year. 

The Aussies maintained their strong form following their most successful ever World Championships campaign last week, where they made history topping the medal tally. 

Dual Paralympian Curtis McGrath continues to dominate his KL2 class, winning two Paralympic gold medals and five world titles. McGrath was this week officially named as a co-captain of the Australian Paralympic team for Paris, and celebrated with a gold medal overnight.

“It’s obviously nice to be here and experiencing the real thing, but it is a little bit difficult, there’s quite a bit of chop out there, but it’s nice to get a hit out against some of the world’s best,” McGrath said.

“You have to prepare for all scenarios, and it can always get worse, so having the opportunity to race here with conditions like this, and to see it at its worst, and maybe at its best as well. I think on a good day, it’s going to be a phenomenal course.”

Dual Paralympian Susan Seipel added another medal to her World Championships bronze medal, overnight taking silver in the Women’s VL2 200m, behind Great Britains Emma Wiggs. 

In the Women’s VL3 200m B Final, it was Australian Amy Ralph who took home first place ahead of Poland’s Justyna Regucka.

In other events, Australian Women’s K2 pairing of Kailey Harlen and Natalia Drobot, who are through to the semi final, said it was a great experience to race on a course where the 2024 Olympic Games will be held in just under 12 months time. 

“It’s exciting to be out there and racing again, we’ve only just finished a world championships, which was the biggest race of the year, but I think its just as exciting for us to come out here and have another shot at it,” Haylen said.

“It’s pretty special to know that this is where the Olympics are going to be held, and to be able to come here with other countries and test it out is pretty amazing,” Drobot said.

Competition continues today and tomorrow at the 2023 ICF Canoe Sprint and Paracanoe World Cup 3 – click here for more.

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