It's not all fun at the Paralympic Games
Competing at the Paralympics may be a dream come true, but these achievements come at a physical cost
When Egyptian paddler Ibrahim Hamadtou steps up to the table, he does so without his right shoe.
That's because this Paralympian needs his toes to scoop the ball up for his service as he bats it with the paddle, which he holds between his teeth.
Hamadtou, who lost both his arms in a train accident when he was only 10 years old, made headlines for his playing style during his Paralympic debut last Friday.
He may have lost to the highly rated British world No. 4, David Wetherill, and then to Germany's Thomas Rau, but the 43-year-old was elated nonetheless.
Hamadtou told AFP: "I'm just happy that I could come from Egypt to be here at the Paralympics and to play against a champion.
"I can't express what my heart is feeling: I'm too happy."
The road to Rio was not an easy one for Hamadtou.
After the train accident, he refused to step out of his house for three years because he could not cope with the aftermath of the tragedy, said Hossameldin Elshoubry, his coach of 20 years.
Hamadtou eventually managed to bounce back after discovering table tennis.
He is not the only one to find the motivation to overcome hardship and countless struggles through sports.
Players of the arduous game of wheelchair basketball need to be capable in terms of speed and agility.
FIGHTERS: Some Paralympians have fought through trauma and the challenges that come with their disabilities to get to the Paralympic stage. From arm-less table tennis player Ibrahim Hamadtou, to wheelchair basketball players Egypt Harry Brown (above) of Britain and Vahid Gholamazad of Iran, and Singapore's own Yip Pin Xiu, Paralympians have worked hard for their sporting dreams. PHOTO: REUTERS
Navigating on the 10-player court in a wheelchair is no easy feat, as players are prone to collide with one other.
Likewise, sitting volleyball is also a physically demanding game as players have to move around nimbly while sitting awkwardly on the floor.
For some members of the US sitting volleyball team, they are more than used to the demands of the game - five of them are war veterans.
James Stuck, who lost most of his right leg in Iraq in December 2005, has been on the US sitting volleyball team for the past six years.
The 32-year-old told online sports news portal Insidethegames.biz: "You're starting to see more and more veterans participate in disabled sports because so many of them are coming back from two wars fought overseas, and it's making it tougher to make the Paralympics. So making the team is an honour."
Singapore, too, is making its presence felt at this year's Games.
After four painstaking years of training, Yip Pin Xiu, 24, brought home Singapore's second Paralympic gold medal for the 100m backstroke S2 event last Friday.
Yip was born with muscular dystrophy, a genetic disorder that causes the skeletal muscles to break down, and a nerve condition that affects her eyesight.
On Sunday, her close friend Theresa Goh, 29, finally clinched her first Paralympic medal by placing third in the 100m breaststroke SB4 event.
CHAMPIONS: Great Britain's Susannah Rodgers, Singapore's Theresa Goh (above), and sitting volleyball players of the United States and Brazil are just some of the inspiring Paralympians in Rio. PHOTO: REUTERS
She had narrowly missed the podium in the last three Games. Goh, who was born with spina bifida, is paralysed from the waist down.
FIGHTERS: Some Paralympians have fought through trauma and the challenges that come with their disabilities to get to the Paralympic stage. From arm-less table tennis player Ibrahim Hamadtou, to wheelchair basketball players Egypt Harry Brown of Britain and Vahid Gholamazad of Iran, and Singapore's own Yip Pin Xiu (above), Paralympians have worked hard for their sporting dreams. PHOTOS: REUTERS
Yip has a race tomorrow at 6.52am Singapore time. It will be screening live at Bendemeer Secondary School, Yip's former school.