By Christopher Brito
March 22, 2021 / 2:36 p.m.
/ CBS News
Katherine Diaz, one of El Salvador’s top surfers, was killed while training for a qualifying tournament for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
The International Surfing Association – the world’s leading authority on surfing – gave on the Saturday after the death of the 22-year-old, made a statement in which she said that she embodies « the joy and energy that makes surfing so special and expensive for all of us ».
« She has become more international Competition level and proudly represented their country at both the ISA World Surfing Games and the ISA World Junior Surfing Championship, « said the organization. « We extend our deep condolences to Katherine’s family, the surfers from El Salvador, and all members of the international surfing community whose life has touched them. »
With a heavy heart, the ISA welcomes the death of Katherine Diaz from El Experience Salvador.
The surfer was hit on Friday on El Tunico beach, about 10 miles from the capital, San Salvador, after entering the water, according to local media. Her uncle Beto Díaz, who is also a surf trainer, told ElSalvador.com that he went with her and she met a friend to practice.
« Katherine was close to hugging her friend and as soon as she hugged her , did you hear the lightning, « he said to the outlet. « Your friend flew because of the force of the lightning bolt and it knocked my surfboard down. Katherine died instantly. »
Diaz was preparing for the ISA World Surfing Games, which will take place on the beaches from May 29th to June 6th La Bocana and El Sunzal will be held in El Salvador. The event’s top seven women who have not yet qualified will be given a spot at the late Tokyo Olympics, where the sport will make its official Olympic debut.
Her brother Jose Diaz has one on Instagram Photo posted with her and said: « You will be in our hearts forever. God has decided to take you now. We already miss you. »
There was a funeral for Diaz over the weekend. Pictures show that her coffin was surrounded by trophies and a surfboard. Rosa Amelia Hernández, Diaz’s mother, told ElSalvador.com that despite the fact that her daughter wanted to be cremated, she was buried over the ocean where she died.
« I couldn’t cremate her remains, but I made sure she would rest in front of the sea because the sea was her life, « said Hernandez.
Yamil Bukele, president of the Salvadoran Sports Institute and brother of the country’s president, mourned her on Twitter.
« It’s a big loss to our sport, » tweeted Bukele. « All of our solidarity with our surfing family. I am with you in your pain. »
First published on March 22, 2021 / 2:36 p.m.
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Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for CBS News, who focuses on sports and stories related to race and culture.
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