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Meet the Syrian table tennis prodigy who qualified for Tokyo Olympics aged just 1104:31

Meet the Syrian table tennis prodigy who qualified for Tokyo Olympics aged just 11

Syrian Arab Republic, Damascus
January 27, 2021 at 21:35 GMT +00:00 · Published

Syrian table tennis prodigy Hend Zaza qualified for the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games aged just 11 last year. She trains hard with her older brother and fellow athlete Obaida Zaza, as seen in Damascus on Tuesday.

After winning the West Asia Games in Jordan in 2020, Hend qualified for the Olympic Games, becoming one of the youngest athletes to qualify for the showpiece event in 100 years. She is expected to be the youngest athlete competing at this year's summer event.

"When my brother showed me his trophy after his first championship, I felt jealous and started crying. I said 'how come I don't have anything like that.' So, he told me to try playing to win," said Hend, speaking of her elder brother.

Hend Zaza's role model is Firas Mualla, a former Syrian Olympic swimmer and newly elected president of the Syrian Olympic Committee.

Despite the COVID-19 threat, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach rejected any suggestion of further postponing the Tokyo games, adding that all international federations and athletes were 'standing behind' the planning of the summer event.

The Tokyo Olympics 2020 are set to begin on July 23 after being postponed for a year following the coronavirus outbreak.

Bach's statement comes after some 80 percent of people in Japan said that the Olympics should be delayed or cancelled in a Kyodo News poll earlier in January, while a state of emergency was also enacted in Tokyo on January 7, amid rising coronavirus cases.

Meet the Syrian table tennis prodigy who qualified for Tokyo Olympics aged just 1104:31
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Description

Syrian table tennis prodigy Hend Zaza qualified for the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games aged just 11 last year. She trains hard with her older brother and fellow athlete Obaida Zaza, as seen in Damascus on Tuesday.

After winning the West Asia Games in Jordan in 2020, Hend qualified for the Olympic Games, becoming one of the youngest athletes to qualify for the showpiece event in 100 years. She is expected to be the youngest athlete competing at this year's summer event.

"When my brother showed me his trophy after his first championship, I felt jealous and started crying. I said 'how come I don't have anything like that.' So, he told me to try playing to win," said Hend, speaking of her elder brother.

Hend Zaza's role model is Firas Mualla, a former Syrian Olympic swimmer and newly elected president of the Syrian Olympic Committee.

Despite the COVID-19 threat, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach rejected any suggestion of further postponing the Tokyo games, adding that all international federations and athletes were 'standing behind' the planning of the summer event.

The Tokyo Olympics 2020 are set to begin on July 23 after being postponed for a year following the coronavirus outbreak.

Bach's statement comes after some 80 percent of people in Japan said that the Olympics should be delayed or cancelled in a Kyodo News poll earlier in January, while a state of emergency was also enacted in Tokyo on January 7, amid rising coronavirus cases.

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