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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Díaz plays for gold as PR’s all-time top medal winner at Pan Ams

Adriana Díaz

By The Star Staff

Adriana Díaz defeated Canadian Mo Zhang on Wednesday, 4-3, in the table tennis semifinals of the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, ensuring her place in the women’s singles final.

“I’m happy because I’m in the final,” Díaz told the media after the back-and-forth semifinal match. “I maintained my composure and in the end I was able to achieve it.”

The young woman from Utuado won in seven sets, 11-13, 11-5, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9, 11-13 and 11-6.

“I can’t be so hard on myself,” said Díaz, who turned 23 on Tuesday. “At the end of the day I was able to recover from my mistakes.”

Whether she ends up with gold or silver, Díaz has now won seven medals in Pan American Games competition, the most ever by a Puerto Rican athlete.

At press time, she was playing in the final against Bruna Takahashi of Brazil, who blanked American Lily Ann Zhang in the B semifinal, 4-0, earlier in the day.

Díaz defeated Mexican Yadira Silva, 11-8, 11-7, 11-8, 9-11 and 11-6 in the quarterfinals on Tuesday to secure her seventh medal all-time in the Pan American Games. She said the accomplishment and her stature as a Puerto Rican athlete “motivates me to be a motivation for young people, specifically for girls.”

With the achievement, Díaz surpassed weightlifter Luis Fernando Báez and gymnast Luis Felipe “Tingui” Vargas, who had won six medals each.

Díaz, who still has the women’s team competition pending with her sister Melanie and Brianna Burgos, won her previous medals at the Pan American Games in Toronto 2015, Lima 2019 and Santiago 2023.

In other table tennis results from Tuesday, Puerto Rico’s Daniel González lost to Mexican Maros Madrid and Brian Afanador fell to Cuban Andy Pereira.

Team play in table tennis starts today.

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