Hend Zaza is the first Syrian to compete in the Olympic table tennis tourney
Photo from ITTF High Performance and Development/Facebook
At just 11 years old, Hend Zaza from Syria became one of the youngest Olympians in history after defeating 42-year-old Mariana Sahakian (4-3) in the West Asia Olympic qualification tournament in Amman, Jordan on Feb. 26.
Zaza, who was born on Jan. 1, 2009, is currently ranked 155th in the world. She will be the youngest athlete ever, male or female, to compete at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Interestingly, Zaza could face off with one of the oldest participants in the Olympics, Ni Xia Lian, a 57-year-old Chinese-born and five-time Olympian who represents Luxembourg.
Zaza also joins a prestigious list of young athletes who have participated in the world’s largest sporting event. According to Olympic records, Greek gymnast Dimitrios Loundras won bronze at 10-years-old in Athens 1896 while Italian gymnast Luigina Giavotti took home a silver medal at 11 in 1928. Zaza can make history by being the youngest table tennis player to win a medal in the Olympics.
The Olympic women’s singles table tennis tournament is scheduled on July 25.