Armless table tennis star takes on the pros

A double amputee proves his mantra - "nothing is impossible" - is true by playing table tennis with the bat in his mouth against professionals.
 
  • video Armless table tennis star takes on the pros
    Becky Barnes
    Last updated: 15 May 2014, 10:03 BST

    An inspiring sportsman with no arms is proving anything is possible by playing table tennis with the bat in his mouth.

    Egyptian Ibrahim Hamato played against professionals including world number two Ma Long when he was invited as special guest to the World Team Table Tennis Championships in Tokyo, Japan.

    “I hope this shows people that nothing is impossible as long as you work hard,” said the determined double amputee who lost his arms following a train accident when he was 10.

    In  the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) video, which can be viewed above, the incredible para-athlete is seen playing fiercely and competitively by serving the ball from his foot and whacking it with his mouth.

    “Three years after my accident I wanted to play again holding the racket under my arm but it didn’t work out,” he explained.

    “After trying different options I found myself playing with my mouth.”

    Hamato reports that he regularly faced scepticism from within the sport that he loves.

    “It was a big challenge for me, especially when I found in the beginning, people were thinking I wouldn’t be able to play good or be a competitor for other players, not just Paralympians,” he said.

    But Hamato was spurred on and won silver in the African Para Table Tennis Championships.

    “Their criticism gave me the chance to practise more and more," he said.

    "I gave more time for practice and this made me feel confident to feel like this. I feel really happy playing table tennis.”

    Jun Mizutani, Japan’s number one, who played Hamato as shown in the video, said: “He played really, really good.

    “I can’t believe he plays with his mouth, I have never seen something like this before.”

    Hamato, who also plays football, has set his sights on playing table tennis at the next Paralympics.

    Video credit: Facebook / ITTF World

    Becky Barnes
    Last updated: 15 May 2014, 10:03 BST

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