A former soldier who was already thinking of his future as an amputee athlete while being rescued from a war zone has today been named Jaguar Australia’s newest ambassador.
Paralympian Curtis McGrath, who is also an ambassador for the 2018 Sydney Invictus Games, lost both his legs in Afghanistan in 2012 when he stepped on an Improvised Explosive Device (IED).
Critically injured, he was evacuated to Germany where he underwent several rounds of surgery before being sent home for more surgery and intensive rehabilitation. Determined to march in his unit’s homecoming parade, he endured three months of intensive and painful rehab to ensure he could take his place among his comrades.
During his battlefield rescue Curtis discussed the possibility of becoming a Paralympian with those taking him to safety. Talk became reality when, after learning to swim again as part of his rehabilitation, he felt motivated to get serious about sport.
Unsure about which discipline to follow, Curtis finally settled on outrigger canoeing and quickly establishing himself as one of the world’s best before moving to sprint kayaks after a 2015 rule change.
He is currently preparing for Portugal’s Paracanoe World Championships starting on August 21, almost six years to the day since losing his legs on the battlefield.
A resident of Queensland’s Gold Coast Curtis, who turns 30 in March, said he was surprised when offered the role of Jaguar Brand Ambassador but proud to accept it.
“It’s a great feeling being appointed as Jaguar’s Ambassador and I’m proud to be associated with the company. Jaguar’s support for the Invictus Games is outstanding and what the company does for the military veteran community is great,” he said.
Matthew Wiesner, Jaguar Land Rover Australia’s Managing Director, said the determination and motivation shown by Curtis in his endeavours to become one of Australia’s great sportspeople was nothing short of inspiring.
“In a relatively short period of time Curtis turned what could have been a personal, life-changing disaster into ongoing outstanding achievement,” Mr Wiesner said. “We are not only proud to be associated with him but pleased that he has become an ambassador for the Jaguar brand as well as for the Invictus Games.”
Curtis’s ambassadorial Jaguar is an F-PACE First Edition, fittingly finished in Halcyon Gold – as befits a gold medal-winning athlete. Halcyon Gold is a limited colour exclusive to First Edition models.
Setting Curtis’s car aside is its professionally-fitted hand control system for accelerating and braking which, he says, is a little like using a computer game console.
Jaguar Land Rover is a presenting partner and major supporter of the Invictus Games, an international adaptive multi-sport event for serving or former armed services personnel who are wounded, injured or sick.
This year’s Invictus Games will take place in Sydney in October and Curtis will be there cheering for every competitor.
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