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Athlete killed by lightning while training for Olympic qualifier

UNIQUE SPORTS By Reuters | March 26th 2021
Surfers take part in farewell ceremony to Olympic surfer hopeful Katherine Diaz at el Tunco beach in Tamanique, El Salvador, March 23, 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.

Olympic Surfing Hopeful Katherine Diaz Hernand [photo courtesy]

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.

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