05 Oct 2020

Winner of the women’s title at the Pan America Cup earlier this year, thus on route to next month’s Women’s World Cup, 19-year-old Adriana Diaz has been voted Puerto Rico’s "Marcó La Década", the athlete of the decade.

She appears proudly on the front cover of the Caribbean island’s prestigious Zona magazine.

by Kabir Nagpal

Most significantly she finished ahead of tennis star Monica Puig, gold medallist at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and professional boxer Amanda Serrano, seven times world champion.

A table tennis family, resident in Utuado in the centre of the island, they have been instrumental in building a state-of-the-art table tennis club. All have represented Puerto Rico, father Bladimir and mother Marangely alongside elder sisters Melanie and Gabriela as well as younger sister Fabiola. Moreover, Brian Afanador is their cousin.

Notably Bladimir won the Coach of the Year accolade at the 2019 ITTF Star Awards evening.

Dedicated to women’s sports, the publication of the most widely read magazine in Puerto Rico noted Díaz’s biggest successes since 2011; it highlighted  her beginnings at age four, as well as her first participation in a local tournament when five years old.

Athlete of the Decade: Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz!

“Sincerely, I do not believe it; because if you asked me four years ago if this was going to happen, I was honestly going to say no. But now that I have the backing of many people who love me, it makes me feel super happy and motivates me every day to keep playing. ” Adriana Diaz

Alongside Brian Afanador, the duo became the first Puerto Ricans to represent the island in the table tennis events at an Olympic Games when competing in Rio 2016; at the time Adriana was only 15 years old.

In 2019 she was very much the dominant female player in the continent, the pinnacle being winning the women’s singles title at the Pan American Games.

General News Adriana Diaz