Ibrahim Hamadtou of Egypt was just 10 years old when a tragic train accident resulted in the amputation of both of his arms.
Children are resilient, and Ibrahim didn’t let his life-changing circumstances keep him from playing, working, and eventually growing up to marry and have three kids. Oh, did we mention he’s also a world-renowned table tennis player?
“In our village, we could only play, at that time, table tennis and soccer — that’s why I played both,” Ibrahim told CNN. “It was logic to play soccer first due to my case; then I played table tennis as a challenge.”
All it took was one friend’s snide remark to inspire Ibrahim to succeed at table tennis. “I was in the club where I was officiating a match between two of my friends,” he recalled. “They disagreed on a point, when I counted the point in favor of one of them the other player told me, do not interfere as you will never be able to play. It was that statement that fired me up to decide to play table tennis.”
And play he did! Ibrahim has earned several honors throughout his career so far, including silver medals in the African Para Table Tennis Championships in 2011 and 2013.
To play, Ibrahim holds the paddle in his mouth and uses his foot to serve the ball.
“It took me nearly a year of practice to get used to holding the racket with [my] mouth and making the serve; with practice and playing regularly this skill was improved,” he said.
This legend now competes against some of the greatest players in the world and has attended the last two Paralympic games. While he didn’t win against China’s Chen Chao at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, he has gained international recognition for his perseverance and incredible talent.
That is the face of true determination! Ibrahim is showing other people with limb differences that there’s a spot for them at his table. We applaud him for his dedication and success in such a challenging sport!
See Ibrahim in action in the video below, and don’t forget to share his impressive story.
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