by Olakekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer
Notably, at the African Qualification tournament held in July 2019 in Alexandria, Ibrahim Hamadtou fell ill, he had to withdraw from the competition.
However, on the recent list of qualifiers released by Pablo Perez, the ITTF Para Events and Classification Manager, on Tuesday 30th June, the father of three has been listed among the six Egyptians expected to compete in Tokyo.
Khaled El-Salhy, the President of the African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF) explained to decision.
“In class men’s class 6, the winner, Abdelmagid Bashir Mahmoud of Egypt has been replaced by Ibrahim Hamadtou as the only African ranked player in men’s class 6, while for the other three classes no African players are on the ranking list, thus, unfortunately, their slots have gone to other players worldwide through ITTF World Ranking.” Khaled El-Salhy
Equally Khaled El-Salhy described Hamadtou as an icon of para table tennis in Africa.
“Personally I am happy for Ibrahim Hamadtou; as you remember he got injured during play in the 2019 African PTT Championships and went to hospital with no chance to continue the event in which he was the top seeded player. All the spectators in the venue were completely sad for him as an icon for PTT in Egypt, Africa and worldwide in missing his chance for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.” Khaled El-Salhy
Hamadtou qualified for Rio 2016 by finishing second at the 2016 African Championships and now he will be making his second appearance at the Games in Tokyo next year.
Indeed it is another leap for Hamadtou, who has continued to inspire many people worldwide with his uniqueness on the table.
“I feel really happy playing table tennis. I want to tell everybody that 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,” Ibrahim Hamadtou.
Also, Nigeria’s Isau Ogunkunle will be making his debut in Tokyo in men’s class 4 after the African silver medallist gained his place through his world ranking. He will join Mohamed Sameh Eid Saleh, the player against whom he suffered defeat by the very narrowest of margins in Alexandria (7-11, 11-9, 11-13, 11-7, 12-10).
“A contradictory case is in class men’s class 4, in which a winner from another continent has also zero points, thus he was replaced by the Nigerian player Isau Ogunkunle, as per ITTF World Ranking of 31st March 2020. Also the ATTF winner of men’s class 4 is present. I am also happy for Isau Ogunkunle as he was in top form in Alexandria and lost the final match by a minimum margin. It seems heaven’s justice was achieved for Hamadtou and Ogunkunle to join the African group of qualifiers to Tokyo, I wish the best of luck.” Khaled El-Salhy
Africa – Players qualified for Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games
Faiza Mahmoud (Women Class 5)
Hanna Hammad (Women Class 6)
Mohamed Sameh Eid Saleh (Men Class 4)
Ayman Kamal Abdelghafar (Men Class 5)
Ibrahim Hamadtou (Men Class 6)
Sayed Youssef (Men Class 7)
Faith Obazuaye (Women Class 10)
Alabi Olufemi (Men Class 10)
Ahmed Owolabi Koleosho (Men Class 3)
Victor Farinloye (Men Class 8)
Tajudeen Agunbiade (Men Class 9)
Isau Ogunkunle (Men Class 4)