For Mariana Sahakian the Olympic dream has come true thanks to hard work and perseverancebut also thanks to her talent. These coming days, the Lebanese champion will face the 64 World’s best Ping-Pong players at Rio de Janeiro.
Mariana Sahakian qualified for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics by winning the Hong Kong qualifying tournament last April against another excellent Lebanese player, Malak Khoury. A 100% Lebanese finale in a world class competition, a first in the history of the Lebanese Ping-Pong!
In the History of the Olympic Games, Mariana Sahakian will only be the 3rd Ping-Pong player from the land of the Cedars to ever participate to the big festivities of international sports, after Larissa Choueib in 1996 Atlanta and Nivine Mamjouglian at the 2012 London’s Games.
« She’ll go Far »
West-Asia Champion with the national selection, Sahakian, who’s not necessarily aiming for the podium, hops to shine for her first Olympic participation. She prepared herself by training very hard during the last three months and participating to many training camps and tournaments during which she stood out.
The president of the Lebanese Ping Pong Federation, Salim Hajj Nicolas, Has only great words to say about Sahakian: “Mariana will go far in the competition because she has an extraordinary talent”. It’s all that we wish for her.
Sahakian’s program at the Rio Games
Mariana Sahakian could meet the world number one, the Chinese Ma Long, as early as the first round. The Ping Pong tournament will take place over 6 days form the 6th (preliminary round) until the 11th of August for the finale.
Who is Mariana Sahakian ?
30 years of age, Mariana of Armenian origins, has started her Ping Pong career with the Homentmen club after her naturalisation in 2002. The year after and for 5 years on the row she was crowned national champion. In 2007 she goes back to Armenia for 6 years where she grabs all the local titles. In 2014 Mariana Sahakian signs with Nadwa Qamatiya and wins the Lebanese championship 3 seasons on a row.
What is Ping Pong (Table Tennis)?
Ping Pong is a racquet sport opposing two or four players around a table allowing a great variety of systems of play: attacks, counters at the table or at mid distance and defensive plays that are particularly spectacular.
The number of players around the world is estimated at 260 million and the international tennis table federation (ITTF) assembles more than 200 nations and 33 million licensees. Ping Pong has been an Olympic sport since the 1988 Seoul (South-Korea) Games.
A Ping Pong match is played over three or four winning sets of 11 points with a minimum of two point difference: the first player to win the required number of sets is declared victorious. In the case of a 3 set requirement, the players would play best of 5 sets whereas a 4 sets requirement would imply playing the best out to 7 sets.