09 Sep 2016

Egypt's famed para athlete Ibrahim HAMADTOU, who lost his arms in a tragic train accident at ten years old, made his Paralympic debut at the Rio 2016 Table Tennis event that starts today 8 September to 17 September 2016 at Riocentro Pavilion 3.

In the clash between the two biggest table tennis internet sensations on the world’s biggest para stage, HAMADTOU challenged world number four David WETHERILL (GBR) in the Men’s Singles Class 6 event.

HAMADTOU was the star of the ‘Impossible is Nothing’ YouTube video that has over 2.3 million views and was picked up by every major media agency and TV channel around the world.

WETHERILL, on the other hand, shot to fame after his phenomenal shot at the London 2012 Paralympic Games which gathered over 10 million views across all videos.

Despite being unsuccessful in his first match in the group stage against WETHERILL, losing 0-3 (5-11, 7-11, 5-11), HAMADTOU shared “It’s my first Paralympic Games. I was so excited when I entered the arena, because it was my first experience in the Paralympic Games. I feel that I played really well, an excellent performance.”

“I am really very satisfied with my level; not all defeats are defeats, sometimes you lose but you actually win because you have added to your experience, you have added to your knowledge. Today I added to my knowledge. I lost to a very good player, David is amongst the best in the world,” added the Egyptian star.

Brazil had a good start into the Games, with Class 9 athlete Danielle RAUEN winning both her matches to lead her group in the Women’s Singles event. The 2015 Para Pan-American Champion recovered from 0-2 down to upset world number two XIONG Guiyan (CHN) 3-2 (5-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-6). The world number eight then proceed to defeat Germany’s Lena KRAMM 3-0 (11-6, 11-7, 11-2) to end her first day at Rio 2016.

After her victory, RAUEN shared “It’s the first time I have played XIONG, but I felt quite confident before the match, we have all worked so hard to get here. It was just tremendous when I entered the arena, I saw my family in the tiered seating and the crowd, everyone was rooting for me.”

RAUEN’s colleague Israel PEREIRA STROH shocked reigning World Champion Will BAYLEY (GBR) in their opening match in the Men’s Singles Class 7 group stage. In the cheers of the local crowd, PEREIRA STROH prevailed 3-1 (10-12, 11-9, 11-8, 11-7) to take the first victory.

The delighted Brazilian shared “For sure the crowd lifted me, you have to use such support to your advantage, and with that level of support I couldn’t lose. I felt I must win with all those people behind me!”

BAYLEY was not the only top seeds who suffered a loss on day one of the Paralympic table tennis event.

Defending Men’s Singles Class 1 Champion Holger NIKELIS (GER) lost to lower ranked Hungarian Endre MAJOR 1-3 (5-11, 12-10, 6-11, 2-11), while 2015 ITTF Female Table Tennis Star Borislava PERIC-RANKOVIC (SRB) failed to overcome the challenge of Thailand’s Wijittra JAI-ON, losing 2-3 (11-8, 15-17, 11-2, 10-12, 7-11) in the Women’s Singles Class 4 event.

More table tennis action continues tomorrow at Riocentro Pavilion 3, with the world’s top para athletes competing to make their way into the main draw to fight for Paralympic glory.

Full draw for the Singles event can be found on http://bit.ly/Rio2016PTTResults

The action can be followed live on the website of the IPC (International Paralympic Committee) and on the TV stations and Radio channels of the Paralympic rights holder in respective country.  All the rights holders of the Paralympic Games can be found on this link: www.paralympic.org/watch-rio-2016.

Quick Links:

Results & schedule: http://bit.ly/Rio2016PTTResults
News & Articles: http://bit.ly/Rio2016Paralympics
Photos for editorial use: http://bit.ly/2cEU1k0
Flash quotes: http://bit.ly/2cmNS8I
Media Guide: http://bit.ly/2cr6Vhk 

Paralympics Press Releases Will Bayley Ibrahim HAMADTOU David WETHERILL Danielle Rauen Israel PEREIRA STROH