Hend Zaza: 11-year-old Syrian table tennis player qualifies for Olympics

Hend Zaza table tennis Olympics
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Hend Zaza, an 11-year-old table tennis player from Syria, has qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and will become one of the youngest Olympians of all time.

The table tennis prodigy Hend Zaza qualified for the 2020 Olympics after winning last week’s West Asia Olympic qualification tournament in Jordan. With the win, she will become the youngest athlete to compete at this year’s competition.

Zaza, whose date of birth is listed as January 1, 2009, is ranked 155th in the world. She defeated Lebanon’s Mariana Sahakian 4-3 in the women’s final in Amman. Sahakian, who is 42 years old, had a 31-year age gap with Zaza.

In its Facebook page, the Syrian Olympic Committee congratulated Zaza, saying: “Congratulations, our champion Hend to the Tokyo Olympics 2020.”

She is a few months younger than the next youngest athlete at the Olympics, British skateboarder Sky Brown, who will turn 12 two weeks before the start of the Games.

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Brown is part of a five-strong British skateboard team that qualified for the Olympics. Born to a Japanese mother and a British father, she is recognized for her skateboarding skills and has already been featured in a Nike campaign alongside Serena Williams and Simone Biles.

Despite having dual citizenship, she chose to represent Great Britain because of its relaxed approach. She said: “The British Skateboarding Association, they told me ‘no pressure, just have fun and get out there. So that’s why I chose England.”

According to data from Olympic.org, the youngest documented Olympic medalist was Greek gymnast Dimitrios Loundras, who won bronze in the team parallel bars at the first modern Games in Athens in 1896. He was 10 years, 218 days old when he won.

The Olympic women’s singles table tennis tournament is scheduled to begin with the preliminary rounds on July 25, with the final to take place on July 30.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s Ali Alkhadrawi won the men’s singles title in Amman to also qualify for the upcoming summer Olympics.

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