Rio Paralympics 2016: The inspiring story of Ibrahim Hamato - The table tennis player with no arms
Ibrahim Hamato, a 41-year-old Paralympic table tennis star has is an inspiration to all sportsmen across the world. Ibrahim lost both his arms in a train accident but somehow the love and passion for the game did not let him stop playing.
Hamato now continues playing table tennis by serving the ball by flicking it up with his foot, and serving with the racket held in his mouth.
He was quoted by GiveMeSport 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.” added Hamato.
Although the Egyptian has not managed to win either of his matches, Hamato has found stardom across fans all over social media during his 2016 Paralympic campaign in Rio, Brazil. Ibrahim became an Internet sensation when videos showing him employing unique methods to carry out remarkable table-tennis serves, picked up over 2.3 million views on YouTube.
During his career, 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.
Ibrahim Hamato fell victim to a horrendous childhood train accident, losing both of his arms at just 10-years-old.
However, this failed to hamper the ambitions of the young Egyptian, however, as he made it a priority to train and play the sport that he loved.
Also read: Live coverage of the 2016 Rio Paralympics
In an interview with the IITF he said, "Everybody should work hard for what they love, and what you think is good for yourself.”
The dream of playing in the Paralympic Games did come true for the Egyptian despite criticism from various corners, “(Their criticism) gave me the chance to practice more and more. I gave more time for practice and this made me feel confident to feel like this. I feel really happy playing table tennis. Now my dream has come true of playing in the Paralympic Games”
The inspiration figure also stated that nothing is impossible if hard work is put in, “I want to tell them and tell everybody that nothing is impossible, and everybody should work hard for what you love and what you think is good for yourself. The disability is not in arms or legs, the disability is to not persevere in whatever you would like to do.”
Hamato’s accomplishments have not gone unnoticed amongst the best
After a promotional game with Ibrahim Hamato, No.1 table tennis player in the world, Ma Long concluded, “He played very good, I could not believe!”
Such was the response of the No. 1 table tennis player in Japan, Jun Mizutani as well. The Japanese said, “He played really, really good. I can’t believe he plays with his mouth, I have never seen something like this before!”
Like a number of other stories of passion, bravery, determination, and personal endeavor among Paralympic athletes, the inspiring story of table tennis star Ibrahim Hamato is simply astonishing.