Hend Zaza is the youngest athlete at the Games. His debut comes to him with 12 years, 6 months and 23 days. Born on January 1, 2009, Zaza represents Syria in table tennis. She achieved the Olympic passport in the Asian qualifier at the end of February 2020. Despite injuring her ankle during the tournament, she beat Lebanese Mariana Sahakian, 42, 4-3 in the final. “It was my first time on such an important date. It is a gift for my country, my parents and all my friends“Zaza manages to say when asked about her presence in Tokyo.
The Zaza’s youth surpasses that of Gaurika Singh, the youngest athlete in Ro. The Nepalese swimmer competed in 2016 at 13 years and 255 days. The Syrian paddler started playing table tennis at the age of 5 under the influence of her brother. “I saw him win a cup in a championship (he proclaimed himself the Syrian champion), I decided to follow his example and began to train,” he recalls. Guided by Technician Adham Jamaan, she grabbed the shovel and struck her first blows. At the age of 7 he shone in the West Asia Hopes Week Challenge.
The Syrian war conflict marks the childhood of many children. Zaza found an escape route in table tennis. War is always present. Power outages mean that indoor workouts are postponed in a room with four rickety tables and a shaky floor. His preparation plan is three hours a day for the entire week, with a day off. “The idea is to gain experience in Tokyo because our goal is the medal in Paris 2024,” says Jamaan.
A family linked to sports
Zaza did not wrest Marjorie Gestring’s youngest Olympic winner status. The American was trampoline gold at the Berlin Games in 1936 with 13 years and 268 days. Who can do it is Sky Brown. The British skater will face the park test on August 4 at the age of 13 and 23 days.
Hend Zaza is the youngest of four brothers and the only child in the family, who moved to Damascus from the city of Hama a few years ago. His father was a footballer and gives gymnastics classes. “Sport is in my blood. My family has been a great support to me since my first days and, being the youngestHe pampers me a lot, it helps me to continue in the sport, “Zaza acknowledged in an interview with CGTN.com. She is the first Syrian player with national titles in promises, cadets, youth and senior.
Compete for the Almouhafza Club of Damascus. Do not neglect studies. He loves math. He declares himself a fan of Harry Potter. His idol is Chinese table tennis player Ding Ning, gold in Ro. A months ago she was invited by the Chinese Federation to train there, once the restrictions due to the coronavirus were lifted.
The Hend Zaza’s precociousness is far from the youngest Olympian in history: the Greek gymnast Dimitrios Loundras. He competed in Athens in 1896 with 10 years and 218 days. In Tokyo, Zaza’s case contrasts with Ni Xialian’s. The player, born in Shanghai (China) but competing for Luxembourg, will be the oldest paddler at 58 years of age. Play her fifth Games, a milestone for a Luxembourgian. l