An 11-year-old Syrian girl has just qualified for Olympics 2020 in Tokyo as a table tennis player, becoming the youngest athlete in the competition, and one of the youngest Olympians of all time.
Hend Zaza qualified after winning last week’s West Asia tournament, which is one of several Olympic qualifiers. She beat out Lebanon’s 42-year-old Mariana Sakahian in the final in Amman.
Table tennis is one of the few Olympic sports that does not implement age restrictions, and the Syrian whiz earned her title while maintaining a 155th world ranking in the sport. She will also be the fifth youngest Olympian in history.
The Syrian Olympic Committee took to Facebook to celebrate her victory, writing, “Congratulations to our champion. Hend to Tokyo 2020.”
The announcement comes amid an escalating panic surrounding the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the world at the moment, with concerns over the fate of the sporting event this year.
According to the BBC, Japan’s Olympic Minister spoke to the possibility of postponing the 2020 Games until later in the year due to the outbreak. Both Japan and the International Olympic Committee insist, however, that they are committed to running the event as scheduled.
The table tennis matches are set to take place from 25 July to 7 August.