Katherine Diaz, El Salvador’s top surfer, who had been preparing for the sport’s Olympic debut this summer, has died after being struck by lightning.
“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 22 year-old had entered the water to start a training session on Friday near her home in El Tunco when she was struck. She was preparing for a tournament which could have earned her a Tokyo Olympics spot.
It is with a heavy heart that the ISA has learned about the passing of El Salvador’s Katherine Diaz. pic.twitter.com/7SQCEHPpu3
— ISA (@ISAsurfing) March 21, 2021
“Katherine embodied the joy and energy that make surfing so special and dear to us all,” said the International Surfing Association (ISA).
“She excelled at the international competition level.”
The ISA added that Diaz – a global ambassador – represented “her country with pride at both the World Surfing Games and ISA World Jr Surfing Championship”.