It was about 2 a.m when I stumbled on Ibrahim Hamato’s story and afterwards, I was in awe that I could not find sleep. This is a man who is a widely acclaimed table tennis player yet, he doesn’t have arms. So how does he play? Hang on…
First and foremost, know that the only barrier between you and your dreams is the excuse you have in your head about why you cannot achieve those dreams because you can either be your own driving engine or your own brake. The choice is yours!
Excuses like “I don’t have money, I’m not good enough, the economy is bad and so on are gradually shortchanging your destiny after all here’s a double amputee who has proven that there is no excuse whatsoever that should deprive you of your dreams. Ibrahim is an Egyptian Para table tennis Champion, winning several honors over the years, including the silver medals in the African Para table tennis Championships in 2011 and 2013. Yet he uses his mouth to play the sport.
Quite Impossible! You may feel but this is the perfect epitome of willpower, passion, courage, determination, and personal endeavor. As a kid, Hamato had always been passionate about table tennis but once upon a time at age 10, he lost both his arms in a train accident and it seemed like the end for him but apparently, it was merely a bend to his success. No doubt, it wasn’t easy. He was depressed for 3 years that he wished his world could end but despite losing his arms, he did not lose his passion. Hence, he sought out ways to chase his dreams anyhow.
According to him, “three years after my accident I wanted to play again by holding the racket under my arm but it didn’t work out. After trying different options, I found myself playing with my mouth.”
Of course, people reminded him about his limitations but Ibrahim, a man with the heart of a lion kept teaching himself how to hold the bat in his mouth. After consistent practice against the wall, Hamato honed the skill so well that he serves by flicking the tennis ball up with his foot, and serving with the racket held in his mouth.
And finally, his dream did come through, “Their criticism gave me the chance to practice more and more. I gave more time for practice and this made me feel confident to feel like this. I feel really happy playing table tennis. Now my dream has come true of playing in the Paralympic Games,” said the Table tennis sensation.
Thus, he became a global icon during the 2016 Paralympic campaign in Rio, Brazil as videos showed his remarkable table-tennis serves which picked up over 2.3 million views on YouTube.
Today, he’s the only player in history to compete in the world championship with his mouth. He is so competent that he has challenged the best players in the sport. After a promotional game with Hamato, the No.1 table tennis player in the world, Ma Long concluded, “He played very good, I could not believe!” Such was the response of the No. 1 table tennis player in Japan, Jun Mizutani, “he played really, really good. I can’t believe he plays with his mouth, I have never seen something like this before!”
Thus, he has become an inspiration to the world. Among his awards, Hamato has won an appreciation award under 6th Edition of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award for the category of athlete who achieved success in sports despite major humanitarian challenges (category of people with special needs)
He once said, “Nothing is impossible, and everybody should work hard for what you love and what you think is good for yourself. The disability is not in arms or legs, the disability is to not persevere in whatever you would like to do,”
Truly, if there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do you no harm. If a broken man like this can become unbroken and unstoppable to beat the odds and become successful, it is a slap on the face of those who think success is impossible. If you dare find out about Paralympics, you would find unbelievable stories that are enough to inspire the entire human race till the next apocalypse. You can click this to watch Ibrahim play.
So what really is your excuse???