by Wade Townsend
2017 has been filled with both highs and lows for Adriana Diaz. The young Olympian from Puerto Rico has found success on the court, recording some historic moments. But her life off the table has been full of unexpected adversity.
Diaz’s biggest success this year was at the inaugural ITTF Pan American Championships. She was the no.2 seed in Cartagena de Indias, and won the title in a seven game marathon match over the United States’ Wu Yue. Add to that two World Tour Under 21 titles, and you can see that the talented teenager is continuing her steady rise on the world stage.
But Diaz’s home of Puerto Rico encountered serious misfortune in the latter stages of 2017.
Hurricane Irma struck the Atlantic Ocean in early September. In Puerto Rico alone more than a million residents lost power due to damages caused by the storm. But in the midst of the calamity, the territory had to brace for second and more devastating hurricane.
Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico some two weeks later. With wind speeds close to 300km/h, the results of the Category 5 hurricane were devastating.
There were 499 recorded fatalities. Approximately 95% of the island was without power, and less than half the population had tap water. Hurricane Maria is considered to be the worst natural disaster on record in Puerto Rico.
During this time Adriana Diaz was outside the country. She could only wait, watching the news to find out any hint of the fate of her family and friends.
On returning home the athlete assisted however she could in helping her city find their feet after the tragedy.
Adriana Diaz is an example of passion both on and off the court.
Find out more about the motivated Puerto Rican star in this heart to heart interview with ITTF.