Katherine Diaz passed away on Friday.
  • An Olympic surfing hopeful died after being struck by lightning while she was in the ocean training.
  • El Salvador's Katherine Diaz, 22, was preparing for May's ISA World Surf Games when she was struck.
  • "Katherine embodied the joy and energy that make surfing so special and dear to us all," said the ISA.
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An Olympic surfing hopeful died after being struck by lightning while she was in the ocean training.

El Salvadorian surfer Katherine Diaz was preparing for May's ISA World Surf Games, which will act as a qualifier for the Tokyo Olympics, at El Tunco Beach on El Salvador's Pacific coast Friday when she was struck shortly after entering the water.

Emergency services tried to revive the 22-year-old on the beach, but the attempts were unsuccessful, according to local media.

According to Diaz's uncle, she was struck by lightning just after hugging a friend she had bumped into on the beach.

"Katherine approached to hug her, as soon as she finished hugging her, the noise was heard. She, the friend, was thrown by the force of the lightning strike too, the board threw me. Katherine passed away instantly, " Diaz's uncle Beto said, according to local news site elsalvador.com.

Beto was on the beach at the time, the report added.

"It is with a heavy heart that the ISA has learned about the passing of El Salvador's Katherine Diaz," the International Surfing Association said in a statement on Sunday.

"Katherine embodied the joy and energy that make surfing so special and dear to us all, as a global ambassador of the sport.

"She excelled at the international competition level, representing her country with pride at both the ISA World Surfing Games and ISA World Junior Surfing Championship.

"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."

Surfing will make its Olympic debut at this summer's Games.

Diaz's funeral was held on Sunday. Local media outlet Diario La Gaceta shared a picture of her surfboard next to her casket, along with flowers and photos.

Surfing will makes its debut as an Olympic event at this summer's Games.

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