Have you ever played table tennis, or as it’s more commonly known, ping pong? It’s similar to tennis but with a much smaller and harder ball, smaller paddles instead of rackets, and the court is actually a table. You get the picture. Despite it being a staple of game rooms and community centers, the sport itself is actually quite difficult to perfect. Have you ever watched a pro swing a ping pong paddle? Blink and you might miss that quick knock of the ping pong ball and swoosh of the force behind it! And if you think only some places play table tennis, we hate to burst your bubble. According to organizers of the Tokyo Summer Olympics, “Table tennis is the most practiced sport in the world.” That’s why it was a big deal when Syrian table tennis player Hend Zaza beat Lebanon’s forty-two-year-old Mariana Sahakian at the West Asia Olympic qualification tournament to qualify for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. At eleven years old, Zaza is the youngest person to qualify for this year’s Summer Olympics. Congratulations, Hend!
Interesting fact: Eleven-year-old skateboarder Sky Brown is setting her sights on the Olympics too. If she qualifies, she will only be a few months older than Hend!