28 de marzo de 2020
Hispanic World

Puerto Rico's Adriana Diaz among world's top 20 in ping pong

San Juan, Feb 4 (efe-epa).- In a sport where Asians reign supreme, for the first time in her short yet successful table tennis career Puerto Rico's Adriana Diaz has broken into the Top 20 of the world's adult ping pong players.

San Juan, Feb 4 (efe-epa).- In a sport where Asians reign supreme, for the first time in her short yet successful table tennis career Puerto Rico's Adriana Diaz has broken into the Top 20 of the world's adult ping pong players.

The latest rankings update by the International Table Tennis Federation puts Diaz at No. 20 in the world, one slot higher than her previous ranking, thus making her not only a reference figure for the Caribbean island but also for Latin America by breaking into the top tier of a sport where Asians have traditionally dominated.

Hailing from the municipality of Utuado, Diaz now finds herself in the upper competitive echelon in a sport that until recently was relatively unknown in Puerto Rico. In fact, she had to go to the continental United States to train to improve her skills.

Diaz's sister Melanie, also a table tennis athlete, is currently ranked No. 63 on the ITTF world ranking list.

The news of her elevation to the 20th slot has bolstered Diaz's confidence, and she will defend her title at the Pan American Cup to be held from Feb. 7-9 at the Mario Morales Coliseum in Guaynabo, a municipality near the Puerto Rican capital of San Juan.

The first and second place winners at the competition will secure for themselves berths at the World Women's Cup, to be held on Oct. 23-25 in Bangkok, Thailand.

Diaz's rise to No. 20 is an important leap in her career, and it was just months ago in an interview with EFE that she said she never could have imagined getting to No. 22 - at that time - in the ITTF rankings.

"It's my best ranking. I never would have imagined it," said the young ping pong player in early December about getting to 22nd place during the final few months of preparation and training for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, for which she has qualified thanks to the fact that she won first place in the sport at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima.

Diaz emphasized at the time that she hoped by now to have moved up to 20th, a target that she said was realistic and which she has made a reality.

"But from here, within two years, my dream is to be in the 'Top 10,'" she said after noting that no Puerto Rican player has ever achieved that and, probably, no Latina either.

Diaz's achievement is all the more impressive in that her chosen sport has no great following or history in Puerto Rico or in the region as a whole, its epicenter being thousands of miles away in China, where it is wildly popular and played by millions.

But Diaz has gotten into the top tier by training practically alone except for her sister Melanie in Utuado, a mountainous municipality in Puerto Rico's interior where she has had the help of her father and trainer, Bladimir Diaz, who has been overseeing his daughters' athletic progress.

Adriana's move upwards in her sport put her at the top of Teen Vogue magazine's list of the 21 most inspiring and influential women younger than age 21.

"If you want to reach a goal, you have to work for it, since you can't achieve it alone. Also, you can't lose hope. You have to work, to fight and to trust in yourself, it doesn't matter how," Adriana said at the time regarding her philosophy for getting to the top and staying there.

The hopes of her fellow Puerto Ricans are now focused on Tokyo 2020, where Diaz will be in the running for an Olympic medal, although she has said that a person needs to be patient and get all the experience they can.

Histórico de noticias
NY hospitals show signs of being overwhelmed, Cuomo says fed help not enough

New York, Mar 26 (efe-epa).- Hospitals in New York City, which has become the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, are starting to...

Venezuela blasts "unfounded" US charges against Maduro

Caracas, Mar 26 (efe-epa).- The Venezuelan government on Thursday said that the indictments made by the US government against President Nicolas Maduro and...

Daily COVID-19 pandemic roundup: March 26

(Update, adds information from WHO, the US, the Vatican, France, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and the Caribbean)

Daily COVID-19 pandemic roundup: March 25

(Update, adds information from WHO, the US, the Vatican, France, Finland, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean)

Senate ready to approve biggest stimulus package in US history

By Alfonso Fernandez

Elton John, Billie Eilish, Alicia Keys to give COVID-19 benefit concert

Los Angeles, Mar 25 (efe-epa).- Pop icon Elton John on Sunday will offer a concert broadcast on television to collect money for charitable organizations, a...

UN asks for $2 bn to fight coronavirus in vulnerable countries

United Nations, Mar 25 (efe-epa).- The United Nations on Wednesday asked donors for $2 billion in funding to finance a plan designed to contain and limit...

US gov't urges people leaving New York to self-quarantine

(Update 1 adds New York, fiscal stimulus progress and stock market info, details throughout)

Drive-through Covid-19 testing station helping battle virus in Puerto Rico

By Jorge J. Muñiz Ortiz

Daily COVID-19 pandemic roundup: March 24

(Update, adds information from the US, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Costa Rica, Chile, the Caribbean and Canada)

Daily COVID-19 pandemic roundup: March 23

(Update, adds information from the WHO, the US, Brazil, Cuba, Peru, the Dominican Republic and the Middle East)

Lockdowns expanded in US while Fed acts, Senate fights

By Lucia Leal

Thousands of foreign tourists leaving Cuba before border closure

Havana, Mar 23 (efe-epa).- Thousands of foreign tourists on Monday are leaving Cuba from Havana's Jose Marti International Airport, the communist island's...

Public bathrooms for homeless, front line of defense vs. coronavirus in Miami

By Ivonne Malaver

Rising number of Covid-19 cases throughout Latin America

Miami Desk, Mar 22 (efe-epa).- At least 23 inmates died and 83 were wounded or injured at Bogota's Modelo prison and other penal facilities on the weekend...

Mnuchin expects Congress to approve huge stimulus package

(Updates with failure of Senate to pass preliminary bill on stimulus package)

Daily COVID-19 pandemic roundup: March 22

(Update: adds information from WHO, the US, Cuba, Syria, Jordan, Morocco, France, Germany and the Caribbean)

Sanders' dilemma: Bow out to unite Democrats or continue with his revolution

By Beatriz Pascual Macias

Evacuation of British cruise ship with 5 COVID-19 cases starts in Cuba

Port of Mariel, Cuba, Mar 18 (efe-epa).- The almost 700 passengers on board the British cruise ship MS Braemar, with at least five confirmed cases of...

US Navy to send hospital ship to New York, which has 1,000 new virus cases

New York, Mar 18 (efe-epa).- The US Navy will send a hospital ship to New York City to increase the area's capacity to treat patients with the coronavirus,...

Daily COVID-19 pandemic roundup: March 18

(Update: adds information from US, the Americas, the Caribbean, The Netherlands)

Colombia, Venezuela cooperating to deal with coronavirus

Bogota, Mar 17 (efe-epa).- The coronavirus pandemic moved closer to the Colombian and Venezuelan governments on Monday with officials from both nations...

Biologist to LatAm: Take early virus containment measures, don't do like UK

By Jorge Fuentelsaz

Florida primary begins amid fear, controversy

Miami, Mar 17 (efe-epa).- Polling places opened on Tuesday morning in Florida for the state's primary election amid fear over the coronavirus and...