Magic Shirt Signified New Status, Now Will Top Status Bring Magic Moments?
2015 ITTF Latin American Championships
Courtesy of ITTF
January 30, 2016 – In early August 2011, an excited ten year old called home from far off Guangzhou in southern China, the other side of the world.
The message over the modern day medium of Skype, with the video facility switched on, was quite simple: “Mom look, this is my uniform, it says A.Diaz (PUR)”. Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz had received what has become for young players one of the most prized of possessions.
She had received her World Hopes Team uniform; many players who have been members of the selected band of players, wear the coveted shirt when days in the youngest age group category have long passed.
It is the magic shirt, the shirt grows with player! It has become a status symbol.
Now, the little girl is a 15-year-old young lady and has a status of her very own. She is the highest ranked female player on duty at the forthcoming 2016 ITTF-Latin American Championships; where, playing on home soil, she will be very much the focus of attention.
Proceedings commence in San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico on Monday February 1st and conclude on Sunday February 7th.
One of Youngest
Undoubtedly, she is the youngest player ever to occupy pole position in the Latin American Championships; furthermore, born on Tuesday October 31st 2000, of 114 men and women who will compete in San Juan, only three players are younger.
Ecuador’s Nathaly Paredes and Mylena Plaza are younger, as is El Salvador’s Gabriela Suarez.
ITTF World Cadet Challenge
More senior adversaries await in San Juan but that fact does not necessarily mean more experienced opponents; Adriana Diaz has travelled the world, none more so than when called to duty for the ITTF World Cadet Challenge.
She first appeared in the 2011 edition, which was staged in San Juan in January 2012, before later in the year travelling to Guam in Oceania and in 2013 to Otocec in Slovenia. In 2014 it was a relatively short journey to nearby Barbados in the Caribbean; before in 2015, the Egyptian city of Sharm El-Shiekh being the destination.
It was in Sharm El-Shiekh that Latin America enjoyed its finest hour in the competition, they won the Girls’ Team title.
Adriana Diaz remained unbeaten, Brazil’s Bruna Takahashi who was later to win the Girls’ Singles title, experienced just one reverse; they were the pivotal players.
Likewise, Bruna Takahashi, a similar age to Adriana Diaz being some three months older, is also on duty at the 2016 ITTF Latin American Championships.
There is little to choose between the two players; they are close friends and healthy rivals. It is a situation that may well prove to the benefit of both; one on that will keep them on their mettle and increase their thirst to improve.
At the 2016 ITTF-Latin American Championships, Bruna Takahashi is the fourth highest World ranked player on duty in the female events.
Colleague, Gui Lin, listed at no.126 on the Women’s World Rankings, is next in line to Adriana Diaz who is at no.108. Caroline Kumahara, also from Brazil is at no.132 with Bruna Takahashi being listed at no.149.
All are major candidates for honors with Gui Lin, the defending champion and Caroline Kumahara being two of four players on duty who have won the Women’s Singles title at a Latin American Championships.
Gui Lin is the defending champion; Caroline Kumahara won in San Salvador in 2013.
Meanwhile, Mexico’s Yadira Silva, currently a player with no World Ranking owing to an absence from international events emerged successful in 2010 on home soil in Cancun; while Ligia Silva, listed at no.156 in the current global order, has the best record of all who will be in San Juan.
Impressively, the 34 year old has won three times; she won in Medellin 2006, in San Salvador in 2009 and more recently in Santo Domingo in 2014.
Visit ITTF.com for more information on the Latin American Championships.