May 23, 2016

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) Heba Allejji will represent Syria at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro after being awarded a special place in the table tennis competition.

The ITTF announced the tripartite spots in the men's and women's competitions, giving 19-year-old, No. 667-ranked Allejji an Olympic debut.

She will be the first Syrian player to contest an Olympic table tennis tournament.

The tripartite places were available to athletes from national Olympic committees which had an average of fewer than eight athletes at the past two Olympics.

Despite the ongoing turmoil in war-torn Syria, the ITTF said Allejji has competed in international competitions including the 2016 Asian Olympic qualifiers and the World Tour Qatar Open.

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