by Simon Daish
Not only was Rio 2016 Brian Afanador and Adriana Diaz’s first appearance on the Olympic stage, but it was also Puerto Rico’s Olympic Table Tennis debut and President Ivan Santos labelled the duo’s qualification as the standout moment of 2016.
“Definitely qualifying for the Olympics was the biggest achievement… being historic for the first time, with Adriana Díaz and Brian Afanador. Having players like Brian and Adriana, who stand out in international competitions, causes a lot of wonder, not only to us but to the whole world who knows and admires them. People are impressed to see them play, they demonstrated that at the Olympics and in different events of the year”, Ivan Santos.
While Rio 2016 may have been Puerto Rico’s Table Tennis story of the year, the headlines for Adriana Díaz continued beyond the Olympic Games as she went to to claim the Women’s Singles title at the 2016 United States Open in Las Vegas.
Aged just 16, Adriana Díaz is quickly becoming one of Puerto Rico’s top sporting talents and President Ivan Santos believes that the teenage star can serve as an inspiration for the island nation’s young players.
“Adriana is the most talented (Puerto Rican) player in the world, because you can say here that there are good boxers, (strong players) in basketball, in baseball, because the island has a track record of having good athletes in those disciplines, table tennis, which is not something so common, the fact that we have Adriana Díaz is something incredible. It is an example to follow and you see that sport is a way of teaching for young people of the country and internationally”, Ivan Santos
2016 was indeed a special year for Puerto Rican Table Tennis, and President Ivan Santos wanted to express his thanks to everyone involved in supporting the Island nation’s dream.
“I’ve always said that to be happy, you have to be grateful. When one thanks, both parties are happy. In my name, as President, and on behalf of the others, we want to thank Puerto Rico for the support”, Ivan Santos.