Monday 18 February 2019

Adriana Diaz Sets the Benchmark for Stardom in Table Tennis

Adriana Diaz is becoming a household name in Women's Table Tennis, busting into the top 30 players in the world and having recently claimed a big win at the Pan Am Cup. The occasion marked something special for Diaz, and showed a success in areas where others are lacking. Diaz won the Pan Am Cup crown on home ground in Puerto Rico, in front of a buzzing local crowd - energetic and certainly the largest showing of spectators at a Pan Am event. So what can we learn from the growing career of this sensational young woman?

Adriana Diaz is bringing fans into the sport
Photo Courtesy of ITTFWorld
A picture which has been one of the most iconic in the sport of table tennis in recent times, that of 18 year old Adriana Diaz standing atop the final table with a Puerto Rican flag soaring above her head, is one which will not be forgotten by the young star.

She was a bronze medalist at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, and became the first female table tennis player from Puerto Rico to qualify for the Olympic Games (Rio 2016). She is certainly a talent on the table and still in the prime of her youth. But let's talk about off the table.

Adriana Diaz is the people's hero in Puerto Rico. In 2016 when she won the gold medal at the US Open Championships in Las Vegas, a large proportion of the crowd weren't even entered in the event. There were Puerto Ricans lining courtside awaiting her success, while on the USATT Facebook livestream an unparalleled 9,600 individuals were watching live at the peak of the stream.

On Facebook Diaz boasts close to 140,000 fans, leaving her only trailing behind Timo Boll in the social media popularity contest, but ahead of the likes of Dimitrij Ovtcharov, Ding Ning, Bernadette Szocs and other fan favourites.

Adriana Diaz has achieved something phenomenal, she is adored by her fans and her home crowd. Diaz draws people to table tennis who otherwise would have no interest, she is a celebrity and somewhat of an icon to the people of Puerto Rico.

When I asked her about her recent experience at the Pan Am Cup, she had this to say:

"It felt amazing. I have never been so happy in my life. People were enjoying table tennis, something I never thought would happen here. My goal was to win for them, I wanted to make them feel happy and proud."

She certainly didn't fail to deliver. Diaz has mastered the art of engaging with her fans, showing gratitude at every opportunity for their support. She connects with them and allows them to follow her on her journey, always reminding them that she carries them and Puerto Rico with her all the time. And they follow her across the globe.

"It's fantastic. Some people even wake up at 4am to watch my matches because of the time difference in other countries. That means a lot to me. It gives me strength to continue and motivation to keep fighting," says Diaz.

And it's not only Adriana who is in the spotlight, she and her sisters have all made their impression on their social platforms and are often pictured together as they compete around the world. Sisters Melanie and Fabiola are also competitive players who travel internationally. Family is one important aspect which the Puerto Ricans are sold on and one which has skyrocketed the sisters into the limelight.

It's clear Diaz deeply cares about her sport and her home when asked about her aspirations for the future.

"I really want table tennis to keep growing in Puerto Rico. I want little kids to start playing and I want them to have dreams, that will make other people happy and there is nothing better than that."

Diaz certainly spreads joy and positivity wherever she goes. That energy has become infectious, drawing more and more fans every day.

Adriana Diaz is succeeding where other athletes need to invest more. We need superstars in table tennis to draw more fans. We need table tennis equivalents of Jordan, Federer, Williams, Ruth and other sporting icons. Table Tennis players need to become celebrities among their own fans and work to draw people to support them.

The success shows for young Adriana Diaz, who drew thousands of supporters to watch the semifinals and finals of this year's Pan American Cup. They came for her, they came to see her triumph, and she did what she does best for her fans. She delivered.

Congratulations Adriana on a moment you will cherish for a lifetime, a Pan Am Cup gold in front of your beloved home crowd.

1 comment:

  1. This young player it's Awesome and has Determination and passion for everything she does, the people connects with her in many levels and that's why she's is a example to follow she's beautiful and on the way to the top


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