Egypt’s Ibrahim Hamato lost both arms in a train accident when he was just 10 but for his love and passion for table tennis, no one would have known he existed.
His love for the game did not end there, he wanted more, he wanted to be much more than just a spectator or table tennis lover, he wanted to play and enjoy the game like every able bodied table tennis player; but how will he achieve that with no arm? GiveMeSport quoted him as saying, “I was trying first to use the bat under the arm, and I also tried using other things that weren’t working so well. “Finally, I tried using my mouth.”
He swings the bat so perfectly that the world stares in awe whenever he does so. Now 43, Ibrahim Hamato has won two silver medals in two African Championship events, in 2011 and 2013 respectively. He also managed to win a silver medal at the 2013 Egyptian Championships, and participated in the just concluded 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, which he described as his life long dream.
In Rio 2016, he lost to British Paralympic tennis player, David Wetherill, which he lost on that occasion, but it did not kill his spirit in any way, instead he had this to say; “Not all defeats are defeats. Sometimes you lose but you actually win because you have added to your experience, you have added to your knowledge. Today I added to my knowledge.”
Though the British player won the match, Hamadtou, was nevertheless praised and even called a ‘legend’, Wetherill said, “It was an absolute honour for me to start off against the legend that is Ibrahim. It was a strange one to prepare for because I’ve seen him on YouTube and he’s a legend in table tennis.”
More so, after his second game, which he also showed a strong performance against his German opponent Thomas Rau, but lost the match, he said, “My dream has come true of playing in the Paralympic Games,” said Hamadtou after his Paralympic debut.
“I want to tell everybody that nothing is impossible, and everybody should work hard for what you love and what you think is good for yourself.”
He is a legend and will always be remembered as the man who played tennis with his mouth