When Joel Coughlan started competing in table tennis as an eight-year-old, he had no idea that one day he would be aiming to represent his country at the Paralympic Games.

Joel was a professional table tennis athlete and aspiring miner when, at the age of 21, he was severely injured in a workplace accident. While he was working as a labourer in an industrial workshop in Rockhampton, QLD, half a tonne of mining equipment fell from a forklift. Joel lost three toes on his right foot and muscle in his right leg, and underwent nearly three dozen operations, skin grafting, renal dialysis and a tendon transfer.

Even after the accident, Joel continued to train under his coach of then 13 years, Pam Clarke. His transition from table tennis to Para-table tennis was seamless, and in 2009, he made his international debut at the 2009 International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Para-table …

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Date of birth
13 July 1988
Para-table tennis
Past Paralympic Games

Tokyo 2020

Physical Impairment – Limb loss and muscle atrophy
How acquired
Forklift accident
Norman Gardens, QLD
Sales and service manager
Started competing
First competed for Australia
Sport career highlights

Beating the world No. 3 at the 2011 ITTF Para-table Tennis Asia and Oceania Championships in Hong Kong

Heroes/role models

Georges St-Pierre

Favourite quote
Do not use a canon to kill a mosquito - Confucius


  • Sport: Para-table tennis Discipline: Singles Classification: Class 10
  • Sport: Para-table tennis Discipline: Team Classification: Class 10

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