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Armless Paralympian finds solace in table tennis
Published: Aug 26, 2021 11:17 PM
Ibrahim Hamadtou serves the ball during a table tennis match at the Tokyo Paralympic Games on Wednesday. Photo VCG

Ibrahim Hamadtou serves the ball during a table tennis match at the Tokyo Paralympic Games on Wednesday. Photo VCG


Ibrahim Hamadtou, 48, an Egyptian table tennis player who lost his arms, is participating in his second Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

Born in a village in Damietta, Egypt, Hamadtou lost both of his arms in a train accident when he was 10. Determined to become a table tennis player, he went on to win medals and become a sensation on ­YouTube playing the sport with his paddle in his mouth.

"I had an accident when I was 10 years old but I love table tennis. Three years after the accident I wanted to play holding my racket under my arm but it didn't work out. After trying different options, I found myself playing with my mouth," Hamadtou said in an interview at the 2014 World Team Championships (WTC) in Tokyo, Japan.

He was invited to WTC 2014 as a guest of honor, where he had a chance to play against world champions such as China's Ma Long and Wang Hao. "He [Hamadtou] played very well. I could not believe it," Ma later said in an interview at WTC.

Hamadtou won silver medals at the Egyptian Open and at the African championships in 2013, and competed at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio. He is the only player to play the sport using his mouth at the Paralympics in Tokyo.

"My best achievement in life is divided into two parts. The best thing in my life is my wife who is everything to me. The second part is table tennis where I find my biggest ­success being able to enjoy every point I win," Hamadtou said.


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