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Aussie Commonwealth Games star had his arm bitten off by a BEAR when he was just five years old

Aussie who pursued fame in table tennis at the Commonwealth Games got his arm bitten off by a BEAR when he was just five years old – but he’s more scared of sharks after fighting back to win multiple gold medals

Table tennis medal hopes Lin Ma had his right arm severed in a bear attack when he was just five years old – but the three-time Paralympic gold medalist is now more afraid of another animal.

Born in China but now a naturalized Australian vying for his adopted country at the Commonwealth Games, he succinctly explained how the horrific episode unfolded as he prepared to compete in Birmingham.

“A brown bear at the zoo, I was feeding him,” he told the… Sydney Morning Herald. “But I’m more afraid of sharks because I like diving.”

He lost the limb in the attack near his home in provincial China in the mid-1990s when he thrust his hand through an opening in the fence that housed the deadly animal, resulting in blood loss so severe that he was lucky enough to survive.

Lin Ma says he ‘never cried’ despite his arm being bitten off by a brown bear he thought was his friend when he was just five years old

The multiple Paralympics gold medalist was born right-hand dominant and had to relearn nearly everything after losing his limb — and nearly his life

The multiple Paralympics gold medalist was born right-hand dominant and had to relearn nearly everything after losing his limb — and nearly his life

“I thought he (the bear) was my friend because I went to the zoo every week to feed him,” he said last year.

“So I just decided to contact him and pet him, but I don’t think he was in a good mood that day.

“I think I was in a bit of shock, but I didn’t cry. Not once.’

He was rescued thanks in part to a group of tourists who took him to hospital in a taxi because he would not have survived waiting for an ambulance.

Lin only had one question for his parents when he woke up after surgery: “I just wanted to know if I could have another girlfriend when I was older.

“They said ‘of course,’ so I was happy.”

Just over a decade later, he was playing table tennis at the world championships after taking up the sport when he saw China win four table tennis gold medals at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

He had previously trained as a classical pianist.

The table tennis champion said all he wanted to know from his parents when he woke up after surgery was whether losing his arm would stop him from getting a girlfriend.

The table tennis champion said all he wanted to know from his parents when he woke up after surgery was whether losing his arm would stop him from getting a girlfriend.

Naturally dominant on the right hand, he had to climb a mountain as he learned not only the sport but how to perform everyday tasks with his remaining arm.

Lin moved to Australia in 2016 after winning gold at the Rio Paralympic Games to compete in his wins at the Beijing and London Games.

His change of allegiance was a huge coup for the country’s table tennis program and last year he represented his adopted country for the first time in Tokyo.

“It’s more relaxing… less crowded. In Australia I can get a better education, a better life,” he said.

Not to mention more opportunities to go diving – despite the sharks.

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