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The Shirt Well Merited, a Perfect Fit for the Pride of Puerto Rico
July 13, 2012
Adriana Diaz
Adriana Diaz unbeaten in Puebla
Photo By: Quique Aparicio

Courtesy of ITTF

Just over a year ago an excited ten-year-old called home.

“Mum I got the shirt” said the voice at the end of the telephone; for Adriana Diaz it was joy equivalent to that of Ma Lin or Zhang Yining winning the gold medal at the Beijing Olympic Games.

The letters “ITTF World Hopes Team” were printed on the golden shirt; a prized possession and one to be earned. Almost one year later, Adriana Diaz underlined indelibly the reasons why she merited the golden shirt.

At the Latin American Junior and Cadet Championships in the Puebla, Mexico, now 11 years old, she remained unbeaten to guide Puerto Rico to gold in the Cadet Girls’ Team event on Wednesday July 11, 2012.

Unbeaten
Lining up alongside Ana Paola Rivera and Caroline Resto, the trio recorded a three-one semi final win over the Venezuelan outfit formed by Neridee Nino, Josmary Lucena and Luisa Lucena, before clinching the title by overcoming Brazil’s Tathiane Pimentel, Leticia Nakada and Martina Kohatsu by the same margin in the final.

Adriana Diaz Leads the Way
Against Venezuela Adriana Diaz beat Neridee Nino (11-8, 11-9, 10-12, 11-6) and Josmary Lucena (12-10, 11-9, 2-11, 11-7), before maintaining her fine form against Brazil, where she overcame Thathiane Pimentel (11-4, 10-12, 11-8, 11-6) and Leticia Nakada (11-4, 5-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8).

Caroline Resto Supports
The remaining wins for Puerto Rico came from Caroline Resto.

Against Venezuela she beat Luisa Cardozo (11-9, 11-4, 11-5); before, in opposition to Brazil defeating Martina Kohatsu (13-11, 11-7, 11-4). The one win for Venezuela was recorded by Josmary Lucena in a full distance five games duel against Ana Paola Rivera (8-11, 7-11, 13-11, 11-8, 12-10) and for Brazil from Leticia Nakada, also against the unfortunate Martina Kohatsu (13-11, 11-7, 11-4).

Melanie Adds to Family Joy
Gold for Adriana Diaz and there was also gold for elder sister, 16 year old Melanie.

She was a member of the successful outfit that won the Junior Girls’ Team title with Caroline Cordero, the winner earlier in the year on the ITTF Junior Circuit in Malta, being the backbone of Puerto Rican success.

Unbeaten
Caroline Cordero remained unbeaten throughout, as the Caribbean island accounted for Peru in the semi-final and Venezuela in the final. On both occasions a three-one result was the order of the day.

In opposition to Peru, Carelyn Cordero accounted for Maria Ortiz (11-9, 9-11, 11-4, 10-12, 11-5) and Francesca Vargas (11-8, 11-6, 11-9), before in opposition to Venezuela defeating Winberly Montero (15-13, 7-11, 11-8, 12-14, 11-6) and Gremlis Arvelo (11-3, 11-5, 11-6).

Further Success
The remaining successes for Puerto Rico came from Melanie Diaz against Peru, where she beat Gabriela Soto (11-7, 11-4, 4-11, 11-6), and from Daniely Rios, in opposition to Venezuela, where she defeated Carmen Rivas ((11-4, 11-5, 11-9).

Success for Peru in the semi-final was achieved by Francesca Vargas in opposition to Daniely Rios (12-10, 11-6, 11-6) and for Venezuela by Gremlis Arvelo, by the narrowest of margins, in opposition to Melanie Diaz (6-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-9).

Brazil Supreme
Meanwhile, in the Junior Boys’ Team event there was no stopping Brazil; with Hugo Calderano and Eric Jouti in action, the two players who lead the ITTF Junior Boys’ Standings, lining up alongside Vitor Ishiy, no individual match was surrendered.

At the semi-final stage they posted a three-nil win over the Mexican trio of Alberto Romo, Gustavo Guterrez and Ramiro Dominiguez, before handing out the same punishment in the final when facing the Chilean trio formed by Gustavo Gomez, Juan Lamadrid and Sebastian Roman.

Argentine Gold
Success for Brazil in the Junior Boys’ Team event but in the counterpart Cadet Boy’s Team competition they had to settle for silver; gold went to the Argentine trio of Horacio Cifuentes, Fermin Tenti and Francisco Sanchi in one proved a hard fought competition.

Two Wins for Brian Afanador
Once again, as in the girls’ event Puerto Rico was very much in evidence; they stretched the champions’ elect to the limit at the penultimate stage.

Brian Afanador accounted for both Horacio Cifuentes (8-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-5) and Fermin Tenti (11-9, 11-9, 11-4) but sadly for Puerto Rico his colleagues could not match his efforts.

Reheul Rivera was beaten by Fermin Tenti (11-7, 11-4, 11-6) and by Horacio Cifuentes (11-5, 11-9, 11-9); whilst Yomar Gonzales suffered against Francisco Sanchi (11-6, 11-8, 12-10).

Fermin Tenti Mainstay of Victory
A defeat for Fermin Tenti, like Brian Afanador a former member of the ITTF World Hopes Team, but against Brazil in the final it was two wins.

He beat Gustavo Yokota (11-6, 12-10, 9-11, 8-11, 11-6) and Isaac Zauli (11-5, 7-11, 11-5, 11-7), with the one other Argentine success coming from Francisco Sachi; he overcame Thomas Uno in the third match of the fixture (9-11, 12-10, 11-7, 12-10).

The one win for Brazil came from Isaac Zauli, in the first match of the fixture he accounted for Horacio Cifuentes (13-11, 11-7, 11-7).

Special Player
Success for Brazil and for Argentina but the day belonged to the Caribbean and to an 11 year old, a very special and very talented 11 year old, Adriana Diaz, the pride of Puerto Rico.

Latin American Junior and Cadet Championships 2012: Full Results of Team Events