MARCH 7, 2020
An 11-year-old Syrian table tennis player has qualified for Tokyo 2020 and is set to become one of the youngest Olympians of all time.
Prodigy Hend Zaza qualified to play in this summer’s Games after winning last week’s West Asia Olympic qualification tournament in Jordan.
Zaza, who was born in 2009, will become the youngest athlete to compete at this year’s competition.
Ranked 155th in the world, she defeated Lebanon’s Mariana Sahakian 4-3 in the women’s final in Amman. Sahakian is 42 years old, meaning there was a 31-year age gap between the two.
“Congratulations, our champion Hend to the Tokyo Olympics 2020,” the Syrian Olympic Committee said on its Facebook page.
Zaza — whose date of birth is listed as January 1, 2009 by the International Table Tennis Federation — is a few months younger than Sky Brown, the British skateboarder who will turn 12 two weeks before the start of the Games.
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, aged 10 years, 218 days, according to figures from Olympic.org.
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.
Saudi Arabia’s Ali Alkhadrawi won the men’s singles title in Amman to earn his place in Tokyo.