Ibrahim Hamadtou, a 48 year old table tennis player, made his mark during the Tokyo Paralympic Games with his courage and his unprecedented game technique. Amputated of both arms, he impresses by his courage and his taste for the challenge. Portrait of a man with an iron will.
A tragic accident
Originally from Kafr Saad in Egypt, Ibrahim Hamadtou is a fighter. Victim of a terrible accident in which he lost both his arms, this 48 year old man refused to let himself be defeated. He says that it was at the age of 10, on his way to work in Damietta that the tragic accident occurred.
While boarding the train on December 17, 1983, Ibrahim was caught in the crowd and fell on the tracks. When he woke up from his coma, both his arms were amputated.
The young boy remained at home for three years, refusing to expose himself to the pitying looks he could not bear.
Sport as a second wind
When he got out of his house, he went to the sports center in his village and tried two sports: soccer and ping-pong. Soccer proved to be too dangerous, and Ibrahim turned more intensely to ping-pong. Ibrahim says that he likes the difficulty of the sport in relation to his physical situation, because he likes the challenge and the difficulty.
After his accident, one of his friends advised him to “keep doing what you can do“, suggesting that Ibrahim would never be able to play a sport like ping-pong. Stung by this remark, the sportsman then has a renewed will and determination. He was determined to prove that he could play sports despite his condition, and he still does.
Intensive training and a strong will
He began by holding his racket under his armpit, before finding the winning technique: playing by holding the racket in his mouth.
To serve, he uses his leg. To play, he uses the strength of his neck.
It took him three years to master this technique, but Ibrahim trained tirelessly to perfect it.
Later, he received an invitation to play a friendly match with world champions, and became known to the general public thanks to a video entitled “Nothing is impossible“, which received nearly 3.5 million views.
The beginnings of an international career
Sport is a world of results, and his was not long in coming. The heroic table tennis player was rewarded at the African Para Table Tennis Championships in 2013, where he received the silver medal.
He then qualified to compete in the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. Although he was eliminated during the first pools, the Egyptian athlete made a mark, impressing the public and the world of sports with his perseverance.
This experience marks deeply the player, moved to realize his dream.
This year, he once again made his mark during the Tokyo Paralympic Games, making the front page of several world newspapers.
A local and international inspiration
In Kafr Saad, Ibrahim is a local star. A true standard-bearer for people with disabilities, he has made them more visible in Egyptian society, giving them more consideration. He is considered a hero by many, especially by his three children.
At the international level, the athlete impresses with his strong resilience and humility. His message to his peers? Fight and don’t listen to the detractors. Undeniably, an inspirational model and a lesson in humility that commands respect!