Kanak Jha, an Indian-origin young boy, has become the youngest US athlete to qualify for the Olympics. Interestingly, he is the first athlete born in 2000s to qualify for the US Olympic team. This youngest male player in the world ever, will compete in table tennis competition at the Rio Olympics Games. He will play in the men’s singles events.
The California native won the North American Olympic Qualification Tournament in Markham, Ontario, in April, 2016 and his performance not only guaranteed his trip to Rio but also helped qualify the USA for its first team competition. He was still 15 then; when he became the youngest male to qualify for table tennis in Olympic history.
"I'm happy that I'm the youngest, but I don't think about it so much. In the end, it's just men", said Kanak.
Kanak Jha was inspired from his toddler days from his elder sister who is only 19 to play tennis. By the time he was 12, he started to play in international matches and realized his full potential of becoming what he is today. During later years as his game improved, he moved to Sweden to train at Halmstad Bordtennisklubb, working with some of the world’s top coaches and players, along with Prachi, his motivator sister. In quite a quick time, he's become the face of the US table tennis team.
Kanak's mother is from Mumbai and his father grew up in Allahabad.
Before playing in Rio, Kanak is also competing in the US national championships July 4-9 in Las Vegas.