Paralympic gold medallist Curtis McGrath of Australia has become the first Para-athlete to win the Sportsman of the Year prize at the World Paddle Awards.
McGrath, winner of the the men's KL2 200 metres race during canoe's Paralympic debut at last year's Games in Rio de Janeiro, was given the award at a ceremony at the Montebelo Aguieira Lake Resort in Portugal.
The award recognises the greatest contribution to any paddle sport in excellence and performance.
As well as his victory at Rio 2016, the 28-year-old also claimed two gold medals at last year's Para-canoe World Championships in Duisburg in Germany.
The Australian, who had to have both his legs amputated after he was injured in a mine blast while serving in the army, said he felt honoured to receive an award "commonly won by able-bodied athletes".
"This award is very special, it has been a hard slog and to have set out my goals four years ago and to have achieved them in Rio was amazing," McGrath said.
"It has been so great to be recognised for my effort over the past four years and this is even more special because I have won a category that is commonly won by able-bodied athletes.
"The amount of growth in Para-sport over the years has been insane and I’m so happy and grateful to be a part of this Movement and growth.
"I feel very humbled by the accolade and I hope to see more equity in the future in all sports."
Australian Paralympic Committee chief executive Lynne Anderson congratulated McGrath on the award and said he was a "great ambassador".
"Curtis is an athlete who embodies all the values of Paralympic sport - courage, determination and integrity," Anderson said.
"His achievements in the last few years since his accident have been outstanding and to receive global recognition as the best in his sport is something very special.
"He is a great ambassador for both Para-canoe and Paralympic sport, and the award is a testament to his strength of character and his commitment to being an athlete.
"I’d like to congratulate him on his achievements and I’m looking forward to seeing him continue on his athletic journey, and in doing so, continue to bring awareness to the Paralympic Movement."