Hend Zaza Table Tennis
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11-year-old table tennis player qualifies for Olympics

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An 11-year-old Syrian table tennis player is set to become one of the youngest Olympians in history.

Hend Zaza, listed with a Jan. 1, 2009 birthdate by the International Table Tennis Federation, qualified for the Tokyo Games by winning the West Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament in Jordan last week, according to the federation and Syria’s Olympic Committee.

Table tennis is one of the Olympic sports that does not have an age minimum.

Zaza is in line to become the fifth-youngest known Olympic competitor in history and the youngest since Romanian figure skater Beatrice Hustiu in 1968, according to Olympedia and the OlyMADMen. The youngest documented Olympic competitor was Greek gymnast Dimitrios Loundras at the first modern Games in Athens in 1896.

Zaza is younger than Sky Brown, the 11-year-old British skateboarder who took bronze at last summer’s world championships. Brown, expected to qualify for the British team, turns 12 two weeks before the Tokyo Opening Ceremony.

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MORE: U.S. Olympic table tennis team finalized

U.S. Olympic table tennis, sport climbing teams finalized

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The six-member U.S. Olympic table tennis team is complete following the Olympic Trials this past week.

Nikhil Kumar and Zhou Xin joined the already qualified Rio Olympian Kanak Jha on the men’s team. Wang Huijing and Liu Juan joined the already qualified Olympic veteran Lily Zhang on the women’s team, according to TeamUSA.org.

The U.S. has zero Olympic table tennis medals, though Zhang and Jha earned Youth Olympic bronze medals.

Kumar, 17, became the first American born in 2003 to qualify for an Olympics. He reached the second round of the 2019 Pan American Games, where Jha earned a bronze medal.

Wang, 39, is set to become the second-oldest female U.S. Olympic table tennis player since it was added to the program in 1988. Liu is a former Chinese national team player who became a U.S. citizen in 2016, according to TeamUSA.org.

Later Sunday, 16-year-old Colin Duffy rounded out the first U.S. Olympic sport climbing team by winning the Pan Am Championships in Los Angeles. Duffy, a youth world champion in the lead discipline, joined the already qualified Nathaniel Coleman, Kyra Condie and Brooke Raboutou.

MORE: Athletes qualified for 2020 U.S. Olympic team

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Lily Zhang, Kanak Jha are first two U.S. Olympic table tennis qualifiers

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Olympic veterans Lily Zhang and Kanak Jha are the first two U.S. table tennis qualifiers for the Tokyo Games.

Zhang, 23, and Jha, 19, qualified as the top Americans in the world rankings, according to the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee. Zhang is 28th; Jha is 25th.

Zhang, who made her first national team at 12, debuted at the 2012 London Games at age 16, dropping her opening match.

She improved in Rio, winning twice to mark the best U.S. singles finish at those Games. The U.S. has zero Olympic table tennis medals, though Zhang and Jha earned Youth Olympic bronze medals

Four years ago, Jha was the youngest member of the entire U.S. Olympic team and the first American born in the 2000s to qualify for an Olympics. He lost opening matches in singles and team events in Rio.

The U.S. Olympic table tennis team will eventually include three men and three women.

MORE: Athletes qualified for 2020 U.S. Olympic team

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