Hamadtou, 41, uses his mouth to hold the paddle, and his foot to lift the ball in order to play. He faced off against Great Britain’s David Wetherill in the Men’s Singles event on Thursday, and even though he lost, he is happy with his performance.
“I was so excited when I entered the arena, because it was my first experience in the Paralympic Games,” he told Paralympic.org. “I feel that I played really well, an excellent performance.”
“Not all defeats are defeats,” he continues. “Sometimes you lose, but you actually win because you have added to your experience, you have added to your knowledge. Today I added to my knowledge. I lost to a very good player – David is amongst the best in the world.”
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Hamadtou – who lost his arms in a train accident when he was 10 – starred in a YouTube video, Nothing is Impossible, in 2014 that has nearly 3 million views.
“I had an accident when I was 10 years old, but I loved table tennis,” he says in the video. “Three years after my accident I wanted to play again holding the racket under my arm but it didn’t work out. After trying different options I found myself playing with my mouth.”
“Table tennis is where I find my biggest success,” he says, “being able to enjoy every point I win.”