by Simon Daish
He guided daughter, Adriana, to success at the Universal 2019 Pan America Cup, as well as later in the year in Lima to women’s singles gold at the Pan American Games; the latter an event in which quite sensationally, with eldest daughter Melanie and Daniely Rios joining forces with Adriana, Puerto Rico won the women’s team title.
“I just want to say thank you to my family and I want to dedicate this to all the people in Puerto Rico. Thank you very much and keep enjoying this wonderful evening.” Bladimir Diaz
Based in Utuado, located in the centre of the island, Bladimir Diaz and brother Eladio Afanador commence a project some 20 years ago to establish a table tennis club in the town. The result is the Aguilas de la Montaña Table Tennis Club, a state of the art facility which has played a huge part in the development of the sport in Puerto Rico.
In winning the award Bladimir Diaz fought off stiff opposition from two of the world’s finest coaches in China’s Li Sun and Jörg Rosskopf of Germany.
Presented by Butterfly, Bladimir Diaz becomes the first coach hailing from the Americas to collect an ITTF Star Award and is in good company. He follows in the footsteps of Pedro Rufino, Liu Guoliang and Jörg Rosskopf.