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  • Adriana Diaz, Puerto Rico’s Table Tennis Star!


    Note: Article was first written in March 2019. Written by: AA


    At the age of 18, Adriana Diaz’s is already Puerto Rico’s top ranked female table tennis player. Currently ranked 29th in the world, Diaz has already carved out tremendous international success for her nation. 

    First Puerto Rican table tennis Olympian
    Not many 15-year olds are world class table tennis players. Adriana Diaz of Puerto Rico at the age of 15, became the first table tennis athlete (along with Brian Afanador) from her nation to qualify and compete at the Summer Olympics in 2016. At the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, Diaz managed to win her first-round match against Olofunke Oshonaike of Nigeria but lost her second-round match against Li Xue of France. However, the youngest table tennis athlete in Rio showed multiple flashes of brilliance and future potential. With her performance in Rio de Janeiro, a star was born!

    Grew up with the sport
    So how did a 15-year-old take the world by storm in Rio de Janiero? One would need to go back to when she was just four years old and started to practice the sport. Her father, Bladimir, a full-time table tennis coach set up infrastructure so his daughters could practice and play. The sport of table tennis runs in the family, as both of Diaz’s parents played competitively, while her three sisters: Fabiola, Gabriela and Melanie also compete. Part of her training progress included a training camp in China, a world power in the sport. In China, she suffered defeats, but enjoyed her time there.  Diaz admitted the sport was meant for her, “I tried to play with dolls -- but, I've always been a sporty girl,". "I knew that table tennis was for me. It was fun, and I was very good at it”. 

    International Success
    Diaz’s first international multi-sporting event success was the 2014 Central American and Caribbean Games as a 13-year-old. Diaz tasted early success by medalling in all four events she competed in, gold in the mixed doubles and team event, while winning silver in the singles and women’s doubles.

    In 2015, Diaz competed at her first Senior World Championships, where she lost in the first round of the singles event against the 23rd seed of Cheng I-ching of Chinese Taipei. Later in the year, she would lead the Puerto Rican women’s team to a bronze medal at the 2015 Pan American Games in Markham, Canada. 
    In 2018, Diaz’s success on the world stage continued to grow as she went on to win all four gold medals she contested at the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games (singles, women’s doubles, mixed doubles and team). 

    In February 2019, Diaz also won the Pan American Cup title on home soil by beating Zhang Mo of Canada in a five-set thriller, repeating her performance from the 2018 Pan American Championships in Santiago.

    The Future
    Moving forward, Diaz has set herself a goal of reaching the top five in the world rankings. If she were to reach that pinnacle, Diaz would become the highest ranked Puerto Rican table tennis player in history, “if I practice and train hard, maybe I can be top five in the world."

    The next biggest event on Diaz’s schedule is the 2019 World Championships and then the 2019 Pan American Games. Currently ranked first in Latin America, Diaz will fancy her chances of winning Puerto Rico’s first ever table tennis gold medal at the Pan American Games. A top result would also qualify Diaz for her second Olympics to be held in Tokyo next year. However, the competition will be tough with Diaz’s rival and 2011 Pan American Games champion, Zhang Mo of Canada, 2015 champion Wu Yue, of the USA and Bruna Takahashi of Brazil, all fancying their chances of the continental crown. 

    With plenty of success already and consistent improvement, Adriana Diaz’s potential continues to be endless. 



    March 2018 ITTF Rankings

    President of the Puerto Rican Table Tennis Federation proud of 2016 campaign, ITTF

    Will Puerto Rico's Adriana Diaz make table tennis 'a thing' in North America?, ESPN

    Adriana Díaz Wins Easily in Olympic Debut, Caribbean News Service

    Puerto Rico Table Tennis Star Is World-Traveling Trailblazer, Sports Engine

    Adriana Diaz’s athlete profile, Table tennis for you

    Adriana Diaz athlete profile, Toronto 2015 Pan American Games

    Adriana Diaz athlete profile, ITTF



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