Olympic surfing hopeful, Katherine Diaz, 22, dies after being struck by lightning while training

Top El Salvador’s surfer, Katherine Diaz, who had been preparing for the sport’s Olympic debut this summer, has been struck and killed by lightning during a training session.

The 22-year-old had entered the water to start a training session near her home in El Tunco when she was struck around 5pm on Friday, March 19.

Emergency services and medics were called to try to save her, but Diaz was pronounced dead at the scene.

She was training for the upcoming ISA World Surf Games in El Salvador, which she hoped would lead to qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics, the first Games to include surfing

“A great athlete who has represented our country has left us,” the Salvadoran Surf Federation said in a post paying tribute to Katherine Diaz on social media. “See you soon, great warrior. El Salvador is in mourning.”

The International Surfing Association paid tribute to Diaz in a Facebook post.

“It is with a heavy heart that the ISA has learned about the passing of El Salvador’s Katherine Diaz,” read the statement. “Katherine embodied the joy and energy that make surfing so special and dear to us all, as a global ambassador of the sport.”

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