Ibrahim Hamadtou has amazed viewers by playing table tennis with his mouth at Tokyo 2020 – having lost both his arms at the age of ten.
The Paralympics is full of inspirational sportsmen and women overcoming their disabilities in amazing ways, and fans were wowed by Hamadtou’s feat in the Class 6 qualifiers.
Up against South Korea’s Park Hong-kyu on Wednesday, the Egyptian showed his skill with the hugely impressive amount of spin he can put on the ball among his best assets.
Class 6 is open to athletes who can stand but have impairments to their arms and legs.
Hamadtou has put together a stunning career despite losing his arms in a train accident while just a child, meaning he controls the bat with his mouth and sets up serves with his foot.
Having first tucked the bat under where his arm used to be, he went from strength to strength when adopting his mouth technique – and he won silver medals at the 2011 and 2013 African Championships.
The star made his Paralympics debut in Rio at the age of 43 and, now 48, he continues to compete with the best athletes of his class.
Speaking to CNN in 2014, Hamadtou explained how football was the only other game he could play following his accident.
He recalled: “In our village, we could only play, at that time, table tennis and soccer – that’s why I played both.
“It was logical to play soccer first due to my case, then I played table tennis as a challenge.
“It was quite difficult playing table tennis after the accident.
“I had to practice hard for three consecutive years on a daily basis.
“At the beginning, people were amazed and surprised seeing me playing.
“They encouraged and supported me a lot and they were very proud of my willing, perseverance and determination.”
On this occasion, Park claimed victory in straight sets, 11-6, 11-4, 11-9.
The Korean, also a veteran of the scene with gold at the 2014 Asian Para Games to his name, suffered cervical spine damage that impaired his upper and lower body movement in an industrial accident in 2005.
Viewers were amazed by the spectacle.
Twitter user Maf wrote: “Truly incredible video. The footwork to serve is unreal.”
What a guy, what a talent.
Another fan added: “Awesome! I can’t even return a ball twice in a row using both hands.”
Ian commented: “Wow just wow…. then wow some more!”
And Debbie tweeted: “Absolutely amazing, what a guy, what a talent.”