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Monica Puig, from her Olympic debut at Singapore 2010 to the gold medal at Rio 2016

2017-10-11 20:58:03

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The Puerto Rican tennis player talked with Buenos Aires 2018 about her experience at the first edition of the Youth Olympic Games and advised young athletes to enjoy this experience.

Many of the young athletes that took part at the Youth Olympic Games then managed to mount the winner’s podium at the Olympic Games. However, only a few have written a page in the sports history of their nations as Mónica Puig has done.

Between her time at the Youth Olympic Games at Singapore and her historic performance at the Olympic Games Río 2016, Puig was chosen as the best athlete of her country in 2010.

The tennis player represented Puerto Rico at the Youth Olympic Games Singapore 2010 before winning the first gold medal in the history of her country, at the Olympic Games Río 2016.

“(Singapore 2010) was my first Olympic appearance and it was so much fun, since I got to share with athletes from different countries that unforgettable experience. It was really young (she was 16 years old) and I really enjoyed it, although that competition cannot be compared to what I lived afterwards at the Olympic Games in Brazil,” recalled Puig, 24.

Singapore 2010 marked the debut of the Summer Youth Olympic Games, that four years later was held again in the Chinese city of Nanjing. At Río 2016, 80 medals were won by athletes that competed in any of these events.

In her first Olympic appearance, Puig competed in singles and mixed doubles. She lost in the first round in both events. She first lost against Zheng Saisai (who then won the silver medal), and, with the local Stefanie Tan, they couldn’t beat the Russian coupled that then failed to win the bronze medal.

For young athletes that will compete at Buenos aires 2018, Puig has a piece of advice: “I wish you can all enjoy the moment. Who knows if some day you compete at such an important event where thousand of people are cheering you so you can win for your country?”

“It doesn’t matter if you wine or lose: what’s important is that you always give your best, share as a team and enjoy the experiences and opportunities that come for your sport”, she added.

In addition to the gold medal in singles tennis at Río 2016, Puig has plenty of trophies in her collection. She won medals at the Central American and Caribbean Games, both at Mayagüez 2010 (singles gold medal and doubles bronze medal) as well as Guadalajara 20140 (singles gold medal); in addition to the medals won at the Pan American Games at Guadalajara 2011 (singles silver medal) and Toronto 2015 (singles bronze medal).

However, she underscores another achievement: “It has always been an honor to represent Puerto Rico, but taking part in the Youth Olympic Games Singapore 2010, and the, Río 2016 was a dream come true.”

Between her time at the Youth Olympic Games at Singapore and her historic performance at the Olympic Games Río 2016, Puig was chosen as the best athlete of her country in 2010.

“It’s an honor to have given my country the first Olympic gold medal in its history. Puerto Rico needed it at that time. The whole island was a standstill and I felt the support of my people in every moment during my matches. I’m happy to have given them that joy,” stated the athlete.

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