22 de febrero de 2020
English - News

Puerto Rico's Adriana Diaz among world's top 20 in ping pong

San Juan, Feb 4 (efe-epa).- In a sport where Asians reign supreme, for the first time in her short yet successful table tennis career Puerto Rico's Adriana Diaz has broken into the Top 20 of the world's adult ping pong players.

The latest rankings update by the International Table Tennis Federation puts Diaz at No. 20 in the world, one slot higher than her previous ranking, thus making her not only a reference figure for the Caribbean island but also for Latin America by breaking into the top tier of a sport where Asians have traditionally dominated.

Hailing from the municipality of Utuado, Diaz now finds herself in the upper competitive echelon in a sport that until recently was relatively unknown in Puerto Rico. In fact, she had to go to the continental United States to train to improve her skills.

Diaz's sister Melanie, also a table tennis athlete, is currently ranked No. 63 on the ITTF world ranking list.

The news of her elevation to the 20th slot has bolstered Diaz's confidence, and she will defend her title at the Pan American Cup to be held from Feb. 7-9 at the Mario Morales Coliseum in Guaynabo, a municipality near the Puerto Rican capital of San Juan.

The first and second place winners at the competition will secure for themselves berths at the World Women's Cup, to be held on Oct. 23-25 in Bangkok, Thailand.

Diaz's rise to No. 20 is an important leap in her career, and it was just months ago in an interview with EFE that she said she never could have imagined getting to No. 22 - at that time - in the ITTF rankings.

"It's my best ranking. I never would have imagined it," said the young ping pong player in early December about getting to 22nd place during the final few months of preparation and training for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, for which she has qualified thanks to the fact that she won first place in the sport at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima.

Diaz emphasized at the time that she hoped by now to have moved up to 20th, a target that she said was realistic and which she has made a reality.

"But from here, within two years, my dream is to be in the 'Top 10,'" she said after noting that no Puerto Rican player has ever achieved that and, probably, no Latina either.

Diaz's achievement is all the more impressive in that her chosen sport has no great following or history in Puerto Rico or in the region as a whole, its epicenter being thousands of miles away in China, where it is wildly popular and played by millions.

But Diaz has gotten into the top tier by training practically alone except for her sister Melanie in Utuado, a mountainous municipality in Puerto Rico's interior where she has had the help of her father and trainer, Bladimir Diaz, who has been overseeing his daughters' athletic progress.

Adriana's move upwards in her sport put her at the top of Teen Vogue magazine's list of the 21 most inspiring and influential women younger than age 21.

"If you want to reach a goal, you have to work for it, since you can't achieve it alone. Also, you can't lose hope. You have to work, to fight and to trust in yourself, it doesn't matter how," Adriana said at the time regarding her philosophy for getting to the top and staying there.

The hopes of her fellow Puerto Ricans are now focused on Tokyo 2020, where Diaz will be in the running for an Olympic medal, although she has said that a person needs to be patient and get all the experience they can.




Histórico de noticias
Trump blasts South Korean film 'Parasite,' Brad Pitt at Colorado rally

Los Angeles, USA, Feb 20 (efe-epa).- The president of the United States took advantage of a campaign rally this Thursday in Colorado to criticize the Oscars...

Brazil's Carnival continues with marked feminist accent

Rio de Janeiro, Feb 16 (efe-epa).- Brazil's nationwide Carnival celebration continued on Sunday with a marked feminist accent emphasized by a band that drew...

Dominican municipal elections suspended due to technical problems

Santo Domingo, Feb 16 (EFE).- The Dominican Republic's Central Election Board (JCE) on Sunday suspended the nationwide municipal elections after multiple...

Trump kicks off Daytona 500 in Florida, but rain delays the race

Miami, Feb 16 (efe-epa)- President Donald Trump kicked off the Daytona 500 under initially sunny skies at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida on...

Samsung presents Galaxy Z Flip, first foldable smartphone

San Francisco, Feb 11 (efe-epa).- South Korean multinational Samsung on Tuesday presented its new foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Z Flip, this model with a...

U2's Bono, UN denounce educational disadvantage for girls around world

United Nations, Feb 11 (efe-epa).- Singer Bono and the United Nations on Tuesday denounced the "dramatic disadvantage" in education being suffered by female...

America; a disjointed continent.

2019 closed with a tense atmosphere in the Americas; especially in South American politics and democracy.

Guaido beaten by mob upon landing in Caracas

Caracas, Feb 11 (efe-epa).- Opposition leader Juan Guaido, recognized as Venezuela's legitimate interim president by more than 50 nations, on Tuesday was...

Fed's Powell warns of economic risks of coronavirus amid Trump's attacks

By Alfonso Fernandez

Final Iowa caucus recount gives Buttigieg delegate win

Washington, Feb 9 (efe-epa).- Almost a week after the Iowa caucuses, the Democratic Party announced Sunday that former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete...

Hundreds of wizards-for-a-day celebrate "Harry Potter" saga in Argentina

Buenos Aires, Feb 6 (efe-epa).- Hundreds of fans left their "muggle" (non-magical) life to one side on Thursday to attend "Harry Potter Book Night" in...

Weinstein defense calls its first witnesses

New York, Feb 6 (efe-epa).- The defense team of former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, who is on trial in New York for rape, on Thursday called its...

Trump holds White House celebration to revel in Senate acquittal

Washington, Feb 6 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump on Thursday organized a "celebration" at the White House to hail his acquittal in his impeachment trial...

Zona MACO art fair starts in Mexico with new plan to hike attendance

By Ines Amarelo

Trump acquitted in near party line Senate vote on impeachment charges

Washington, Feb 5 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump was acquitted on Wednesday in a vote by the Republican-controlled Senate on the two impeachment charges...

US threatens Reliance, Repsol, Chevron, Rosneft with sanctions over Venezuela

Washington, Feb 5 (efe-epa).- The United States on Wednesday threatened to impose sanctions on US petroleum firm Chevron, Spain's Repsol and India's...

US trade deficit declines for 1st time in 6 years amid trade tensions

By Alfonso Fernandez

Almost 1,000 police murdered in Mexico in the past 2 years

Mexico City, Feb 4 (efe-epa).- From 2018 up through January 2020, at least 953 police officers were murdered in Mexico, a reflection of the wave of violence...

Puerto Rico's Adriana Diaz among world's top 20 in ping pong

San Juan, Feb 4 (efe-epa).- In a sport where Asians reign supreme, for the first time in her short yet successful table tennis career Puerto Rico's Adriana...

Trump to address split Congress, Senate on verge of acquitting him at trial

By Lucia Leal

Iowa, between Biden's moderation and Bernie's revolution

By Beatriz Pascual Macias

Alphabet beats on earnings per share, misses on revenue

San Francisco, Feb 3 (efe-epa).- Internet giant Alphabet, the parent company of Google, released yearly and quarterly results on Monday, showing net profits...

Newton, Iowa: Between the pain of de-industrialization and the elections

By Beatriz Pascual Macias

Groundhog Day celebrations take place in US

Washington, Feb 2 (efe-epa).- Punxsutawney Phil, the most famous weather-predicting animal in the world, emerged from his burrow in the same-named town in...