H. Zaza, of the most famous Olympic athletes, is the fifth in the history of youth.
She was the lowest ranked table tennis player in the Olympic tournament. It is symbolic that in his first Olympic duel, the Syrian met his 27-year-old rival, Liu Jia, for whom this is already his sixth Olympic test.
The 12-year-old athlete lost her debut meeting 0: 4, but was given the opportunity to carry the Syrian flag at the opening ceremony, just a couple of hours before the match.
Zaza began playing table tennis at the age of five in Hamas, which was destroyed in the war.
Even the training of a young table tennis player was sometimes interrupted due to hostilities in the city.
Lack of equipment and hellish conditions did not stop H. Zaza, who made it to the Tokyo Olympics after winning the West Asian Olympics last year.
AFP / “Scanpix” nuotr./Hend Zaza
If the Games had taken place last year, Zaza would have been in them for just 11 years. But it may have even come in handy as the Syrian got a chance to train and prepare for the postponed games with the Chinese Olympic team.
The young athlete spent five hours preparing and attending the opening ceremony, after which she rushed to her debut competition.
Although it didn’t happen, H. Zaza is already saying that in 2024, she will return to better in Paris.
AFP/„Scanpix“ nuotr./Liu Jia ir Hend Zaza
The 12-year-old Chinese china, L.Jia, began her professional career eight years before her Saturday opponent was born.
J.Lia’s daughter is of a similar age as H.Zaza.
“Do you know that your mother will play against a rival who is only two years older than you?” Lia asked her daughter.
“Then you better not lose,” he replied.
After the Olympics, H. Zaza will return to the training center in Damascus, the young athlete is already dreaming that he would like to study law in the future.
“I have had a lot of very difficult experiences over the last five years, especially when there was a war in the country, when the games were postponed, when funding was delayed. It was difficult. But I fought for it, so I say to those who want to find themselves in my situation: fight for your dreams, try, no matter the hardships you face. And you will achieve your goal, “said the 12-year-old girl to her peers in Syria.