Surfers take part in farewell ceremony to Olympic surfer hopeful Katherine Diaz at el Tunco beach in Tamanique, El Salvador, March 23, 2021. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas
March 26, 2021
(Reuters) – El Salvadoran surfer Katherine Diaz has been killed after being struck by lightning while training for a qualifying tournament for the Tokyo Olympics.
The 22-year-old was struck just after entering the water on Friday at El Tunco Beach, about 10 miles (16km) south of capital San Salvador, local media reported.
“Katherine embodied the joy and energy that make surfing so special and dear to us all, as a global ambassador of the sport,” the International Surfing Association (ISA) said in one of many tributes posted on social media.
Diaz had been preparing for the ISA World Surfing Games, which will be held from May 29 to June 6 at the La Bocana and El Sunzal beaches in El Salvador.
The top seven women at the event who have not already qualified will earn a place at the delayed Tokyo Olympics, where surfing will be a medal sport for the first time.
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, editing by Peter Rutherford)