At just 11 years old, Syrian table tennis whiz Hend Zaza is poised to be the youngest competitor at the 2020 Summer Olympics. Unsurprisingly, she will go down in history as one of the youngest Olympians of all time. 

Zaza qualified to compete in upcoming games, hosted by Tokyo, after winning the West Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament in Amman, Jordan, last week. She defeated 42-year-old Mariana Sahakian of Lebanon for the women's singles title, despite their 31-year age gap.

"Congratulations to our heroine Hend Zaza," the Syrian Olympic Committee wrote on Facebook

Table tennis is one of the few Olympic sports that does not have an age minimum or maximum. Zaza is the youngest qualifier this year, and she could go up against the oldest — Ni Xia Lian of Luxembourg, who will be 57 years old when the games begin this summer.

Zaza was born on January 1, 2009, and is currently ranked 155th in the world, according to the International Table Tennis Federation.

11-year-old skateboarder Sky Brown was previously in line for the title of youngest Olympian at the 2020 games, but she will turn 12 just a few weeks before the opening ceremony. Brown is expected to qualify for the British team after winning a bronze medal at the world championships in 2019.

There have only been a handful of Olympians younger than Zaza. When Greek gymnast Dimitrios Loundras took home the bronze in the team parallel bars in 1896, he was 10 years and 218 days old. In 1928, Italian gymnast Luigina Giavotti won a silver medal in the team event at 11 years and 302 days old, according to Olympic records

First published on March 7, 2020 / 4:20 PM

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