Inspiring young people and capturing the hearts of fans during the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, Egypt’s Ibrahim Hamadtou has been highly admired for his distinct table tennis playing style.
Hamadtou lost both arms at 10. However, he was determined to overcome his disability. He participated in two consecutive editions of the Paralympics.
Being the main talk of the sports world since his first appearance in the Paralympics in 2016, the 48-year-old doubleamputee stunned fans by how he balances the paddle in his mouth and tosses the ball up on serve with his foot.
“I lost my arms in a train accident when I was only ten,” Hamadtou said.
As a child, he was fully enthusiastic about sports. But only football and tennis table were available in his hometown at the time.
“Like every child, I played soccer first due to my conditions, but it was unsafe for me in the pitch,” he added.
At the age of 13, Hamadtou took up tennis table as a challenge, he told CNN in an interview.
Hamadtuo won the silver medal in the African Table Tennis Championship in 2011 and 2013.
In 2015, he won the silver medal in the African championship, which qualified him to the Paralympics games in 2016.
As the first player in the history of the Paralympic Games to play table tennis with his mouth, ‘Mr Impossible’, like he came to be known to everyone, dazzled global media by appearing in the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“Qualifying to the 2016 Paralympic was a dream that came true,” he said. “Unfortunately, I did not prepare enough to go through this dream.”
In the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Hamadtou lost against Britain’s David Wetherill.
He was beaten in the Class 6 qualifiers in Tokyo Paralympics in 2020 by South Korea’s Park Hong-ku.
However, he was praised by international media for his exclusive style and unbelievable abilities.
In 2019, Hamadtou finished fourth in the Egypt International Table Tennis Championship.
He got nearly 80 medals in the local competitions.
It was quite difficult for him playing table tennis after the accident. It took nearly three years of regular practice to master holding the paddle in his mouth and make the serve.
“I do appreciate my family and the people around me for their encouragement and pride in my determination,” he added.
He has done well to create a positive attitude towards people with disabilities globally.
Recently, Hamadtou was invited by the Swiss Table Tennis Federation to participate in the tournament of the first 16 champions in Europe, which was held between February 26 and 27.
“Nothing is impossible,” Hamadtou said, addressing Egyptian and Arab athletes.