An Egyptian table tennis star and amputee Ibrahim Hamadtou continues to deliver jaw-dropping shots using just his lips at his second consecutive Paralympic Games.
In the men’s singles event at the Tokyo Paralympics, the 48-year-old was defeated by Park Hongkyu of South Korea and Chen Chao of China, but the significance of his participation extends well beyond the results.
After losing both of his arms in a railway accident when he was seven years old in 1983, Hamadtou was inspired by a harsh statement from a friend to pursue an inspirational table tennis career.
“I was in a club, presiding over a match between two of my pals. When I counted the point in favor of one of them, the other player replied, “Do not intervene because you will never be allowed to play.” “Last year, Hamadtou told the International Table Tennis Federation’s website in an interview.
“It was because of that comment that I decided to play table tennis.”
Amazing photos of Hamadtou holding the paddle in his mouth and hitting back at opponents went viral in 2014, when he appeared as a guest of honor at the World Team Championships, lining up against the best in the world.
Two years later, in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, he made his Paralympic debut, once again demonstrating his remarkable abilities.
“It took me about a year of practice to become used to holding the racket with [my] lips and making the service; this talent was developed with practice and playing consistently,” he continued.