“Nothing is impossible, as long as you work hard,” said Ibrahim Hamato, a paralympian who continues to play his favorite sport, table tennis, despite missing both of his arms.
Using only his mouth, Hamato is able to whip the table tennis paddle with remarkable strength, while hitting the ball quite accurately. He played some of the world’s top, two-armed professional table tennis players, including the International Table Tennis Federation’s number one-ranked player, Ma Long, at the ZEN-NOH World Team Table Tennis Championships in Tokyo, Japan.
Hailing from Egypt, Hamato lost his arms at 10 years old due to an unspecified accident. Three years later, he wanted to get back to playing table tennis, but couldn’t use the paddles under his shoulder, so he learned to use his mouth. Since then, he’s gotten better and better, landing himself with an invitation to the competition.
In the video below, you can see his skills handling the paddle — his serve alone is something to see — but he also used his appearance at the competition as a way to raise awareness of paralympian abilities, as well as the ability for anyone with disabilities to achieve their goals. “I believe that para-table tennis in Egypt has a lot of talented players, winning even medals at the Paralympics,” he said, adding that training facilities in Egypt are not as good as others, but if they were, they’d “achieve better results.”
Paralympians participate in pretty much any sport a person without disabilities can do, from swimming and track to alpine skiing and hockey.