Jordan's Princess Zeina Rashid Shaban
Jordan's Princess Zeina Rashid Shaban Image Credit: Twitter

Dubai: Jordan’s Princess Zeina Rashid Shaban has hailed the role played by sport in bringing out the best in her after she was announced as the latest Board Member on the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Foundation, on Friday.

“Table tennis was my gateway into competitive sport, my career, my passion. I am excited to have the opportunity to give back to the sport that has set my life on its current trajectory,” Princess Zeina said.

“Sport is a great unifying and equalising force and it is a privilege to join the ITTF Foundation, which works every day to further this message by supporting and bringing communities together through table tennis.”

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Princess Zeina competed in table tennis at the Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and has continued to be heavily involved in sport and currently sits on the Jordan Olympic Committee (JOC) as a member of the Board of Directors.

The 32-year-old also holds the added responsibility of piloting an innovative programme called ‘20 for Tokyo 2020’, an ambitious plan put in place by the JOC with the goal of having at least 20 athletes from the Middle East nation qualifying for next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

It is believed that ITTF Deputy President, Khalil Al Mohannadi initiated the discussions to bring Princess Zeina on board and the ITTF Executive Committee were unanimously in agreeing to the proposal while welcoming her presence on the ITTF Foundation’s Governing Board.

A management graduate with a degree major in economics from the Royal Holloway University of London, Princess Zeina made her official debut for the 2004 Athens Olympics at the tender age of 16 after booking her place from the West Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament held in Doha. She reached the second preliminary match of the women’s singles, where she lost to three-time Olympian Adriana Simion-Zamfir of Romania.

“We are delighted to be welcoming Princess Zeina to the ITTF family. A distinguished personality with a highly-impressive reputation in the sports industry, we are very much looking forward to working with her, as her fresh input will be for the benefit of our sport. We need young leaders, we need female leaders, and we need leaders from different regions of the world. We believe that her contribution to our sport and her commitment to the ITTF Foundation will generate an immensely positive impact and will inspire the entire table tennis community worldwide,” Al Mohannadi said.

“Princess Zeina joins us with a wealth of experience in both fields of competitive sports and sports development, putting her in a prime position to assess which goals we are pursuing and which projects we want to implement in order to take table tennis to ambitious new heights,” ITTF President Thomas Weikert explained.

“We are therefore delighted to welcome her on board, certain that she will offer an invaluable contribution to our sport.”