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Armless table tennis player who holds paddle in mouth is inspiration at Paralympics

After losing his arms at age 10, Egypt's Ibrahim Hamadtou took up table tennis "as a challenge."

One of the thousands of Paralympic athletes providing inspiration across social media is an Egyptian table tennis player who serves with his foot and holds the paddle in his mouth.

Egypt's Ibrahim Hamadtou, 48, lost both his arms in a train accident when he was 10. 

"In our village, we could only play, at that time, table tennis and soccer -- that's why I played both," he told CNN in 2014. "It was logic to play soccer first due to my case; then I played table tennis as a challenge."

Now he is in his second Paralympics, playing in Class 6.

"Players in this class stand, yet they have severe impairments in both their arms and legs due to incomplete spinal-cord injuries, neurological conditions which affect both or one side of the body, amputations or congenital conditions," The International Paralympic Committee website said. "Some players even handle the racket with their mouths."

Which is what Hamadtou does, while tossing the ball up with his right foot to serve.

Hamadtou gained fame after winning silver medals at the 2011 and 2013 African Championships and the 2013 Egypt Open, ESPN reports.

At the 2016 Paralympics in Rio, Hamadtou finished ninth in the team event and 11th in singles.

Hamadtou has been been in two singles matches during the Tokyo Games and was dispatched quickly in both, losing 3-0 to South Korea's Hong Kyu Park Wednesday and Chen Chao of China Friday.

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