08 Mar 2019

Two shining lights of the Puerto Rican table tennis set up who will no doubt go on to inspire future generations to pick up a racquet and give the sport a go - for sisters Adriana and Melanie Díaz International Women's Day is a very important time of year.

by Simon Daish – interviews conducted by Ian Marshall, Editor

Growing up in Utuado, located in the mountainous region of the island the Díaz sisters were inspired to take up the sport by their family with their parents being heavily involved with club table tennis.

Both sisters soon fell in love with table tennis and were enthralled by two of China’s all-time finest: for Adriana it was Liu Shiwen while Melanie was galvanised to work hard at her game by Zhang Yining.

“My family inspired me to play table tennis. I grew up seeing my mom and dad playing and coaching in the club. My sister and I were always around, so it was not to long when I want to play to. During that time I remember being so inspired by Liu Shiwen. She was fast and I just want to be like her when I grew up.” Adriana Díaz

“I grew up watching Zhang Yining, I think she inspired me the most. I really wanted to be like her when I was little.” Melanie Díaz

One of the really important values International Women’s Day has is that it offers up an opportunity to highlight the problems and inconsistencies that still exist in society for women across the world whether it be in sport, work or everyday life.

Adriana and Melanie think it’s also important to remember all of the women from past generations who fought hard for equality, helping to shape a better life for the women of today.

“International Women’s Day mean a lot for me and for women around the globe. The fights that women had to endure in the past to overcome limitations imposed by society, bring us to our today. Achieving equality is still the fight we have to endure, for future generations to come.” Adriana Díaz

“I see it as a reminder of how hard the women from our past have fought for our rights and we will keep fighting until we are seen as one.” Melanie Díaz

When asked what they would say to any women out there who are thinking about taking up table tennis Adriana and Melanie were both keen to encourage anyone interested to enjoy themselves and give the sport a go.

“I would say keep working hard for your dreams and enjoying table tennis at the same time. It’s a beautiful sport for everyone!” Melanie Díaz

“To all little girls, young girls and women, do what make you feel happy. If you want to achieve a professional table tennis career, or any other career? DO IT! Fight for it, work hard. Do not let anyone tell you that you can’t, prove them wrong;  no matter what keep moving step by step.” Adriana Díaz

The ITTF would like to express its thanks to Adriana and Melanie Díaz for taking the time for the interviews.

General News Adriana Diaz Melanie Diaz