Olympics: Syrian 12-Year-Old Hend is Youngest Athlete at Tokyo

The Tokyo Olympic Games' youngest athlete is Hend Zaza from Syria aged 12.

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Olympics: Syrian 12-Year-Old Hend is Youngest Athlete at Tokyo

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Syrian table tennis player Hend Zaza, who is just 12 years old, is set to become the youngest athlete to compete in the Tokyo Olympics.

Hend is also the first Syrian to compete in Olympic table tennis through a qualification round. She is the only female member of a six-person team vying for her home country's fourth-ever Olympic medal.

She had beaten Lebanese player Mariana Sahakian to make it to the 2020 Tokyo Games.


Hend has been playing table tennis from the age of five and at six, she competed at the World Hopes Week and Challenge event in Doha, Qatar where she was spotted by an International Table Tennis Federation official.

According to BBC, she will be the youngest athlete to compete at the Games since 1968.

The Syrian player has earned her place, having become national champion in all age categories, including senior.

"I started the game because I wanted to be like my brother, who was a national champion," Hend was quoted as saying by the BBC.

"I was watching his videos and I told him I wanted to be like him. He encouraged me a lot and said that if I worked hard, I could achieve a lot."

On Saturday, she will kick off the competition against 39-year-old Austrian Liu Jia in the preliminary round of the women's singles.

Zaza is set to become the youngest Olympian since 11-year-old Beatrice Hustiu competed in figure skating at the 1968 Winter Olympics.

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