Paralympic star plays table tennis with bat in mouth leaving viewers in awe
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Tokyo 2020 Paralympics viewers have been left in astonishment after seeing Ibrahim Hamadtou compete in the table tennis at the games.
Despite losing both arms in a train accident when he was just 10 years old, the Egyptian refused to let that hinder his sporting progress as he competes at the Paralympics for the second time.
The 48-year-old, who comes from the Kafr-Saad region of Northern Egypt, made his debut at the Rio 2016 games.
Hamadtou had previously played with the paddle underneath his shoulder after picking up the sport as a 13-year-old, however shifted to his new innovative technique and saw increased success.
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That success included silver medals at the 2011 and 2013 African Championships of table tennis.
He uses his right foot to throw the ball in the air to serve, and competes in the class six category of the sport. Class six means that the athletes can stand, but have impairments to their arms and legs.
Hamadtou fell short in his qualifying match against South Korean competitor Park Hong-kyu on Wednesday, but earned a lot of fans in the process as videos of his remarkable talents went viral.
On Twitter in particular there was an outpouring of amazement. One user in particular enjoyed his unique serving process, writing: "Truly incredible video. The footwork to serve is unreal."
Another onlooker was in awe of the spectacle, saying: "Absolutely amazing, what a guy, what a talent."
After Hamadtou was first noticed on a global scale in 2014, he spoke to CNN about how he chose table tennis and his journey more generally.
He said: "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."
Hamadtou's journey is truly inspirational, and throughout his career he has believed in one core principle.
"I believe that nothing is impossible, as long as you work hard," said Hamadtou.
"This is the message I would like to send to people."
- Tokyo 2020 Paralympics
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