Syria's Hend Zaza, Youngest Tokyo Olympian at 12 Years Old, Out in First Match

Syria's Hend Zaza playing table tennis

Syria's 12-year-old Hend Zaza, the youngest athlete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, has been eliminated from competition following her loss in a preliminary round match. 

Zaza fell to Austria's 39-year-old Liu Jia in straight sets: 4-11, 9 - 11, 3 - 11, 5 - 11. Though the pre-teen held a 6-2 lead during the second game -- potentially turning the tables -- the Austrian veteran managed to overcome the deficit. 

"It was very tough to mentally be prepared for [the Olympics] but I think I somehow managed to overcome this, and this is the part that I think I did the best during the match," Zaza told reporters following her defeat.

"The main lesson was the loss of this match, especially in the first match. So next time, I will be working hard to pass the first, second, third round, because I want to play more in this competition," she added.

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The Syrian is the youngest table tennis athlete to ever compete at the Olympics, and only the second table tennis player from her country to compete at an Olympic level. 


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