Katherine Diaz: Olympic surfer hopeful killed by lightning while getting into sea

Katherine Diaz, a 22-year-old surfer, was struck by lightning shortly after she entered the ocean at El Tunco Beach, around 10 miles (16km) south of the capital San Salvador. 

Ms Diaz was preparing for the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Surf Games which are being held in El Salvador in May and would act as a qualifier for the Tokyo Olympics. 

She was one of El Salvador’s most popular surfers and was known for popularising women’s surfing in the country. 

This year is the first that surfing would be included in the Olympic Games. 

The ISA, which is the sport’s governing body, posted a tribute to Ms Diaz on social media on Sunday. 

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“Katherine embodied the joy and energy that make surfing so special and dear to us all, as a global ambassador of the sport,” it tweeted. “She excelled at the int’l competition level, representing her country with pride at both the World Surfing Games and ISA World Jr Surfing Championship.”

The ISA added: “We send our heartfelt condolences to Katherine’s family, the surfers of El Salvador, and to all those in the international surfing community whose lives she touched. We will never forget you.”

Diaz was buried on Sunday in El Salvador. A picture of her surfboard next to her coffin, along with flowers and photos, was tweeted by local media. 

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