On August 17, 1999, Ian Kent woke up with a gnarled body. “Two years later I learned to walk again,” he told the Toronto Star.
Kent had been a competitive table-tennis player on the Canadian junior team before becoming the Canadian National Team coach from 1986-1993. The event in ’99 eventually led to his diagnosis with dystonia–a condition that, for him, forces muscles in his lower back to contract and has left him using a motorized scooter to get around.
Yet these days, Kent is able to joke about his condition, saying it’s “not conducive to good table tennis.” Such quips are a little easier, since he’s the defending gold medalist in his sport at Parapan Am. But his climb back up the mountain was far from easy.
Ian Kent shares his experience getting diagnosed with dystonia, but pushing forward and medaling in the Parapan Am table tennis. Source: Youtube
When Kent first started making the move to para, he admits to the Toronto Star “it was really my ego that got in the way. I didn’t want to go back until I could really play […] I was going to lose to most everyone.” So what helped him overcome his ego? Kent explains it was all about “moving forward.”
Now, the 54-year-old is looking forward to a repeat of his singles title at this year’s Parapan Am. “I’m trying to leave no stone unturned,” he says.
For more on Ian Kent, check out the full story reported by the Toronto Star.
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