Filipino surfer Roger Casugay won the gold toppling Rogelio Esquievel Jr. in the final. (Source: Twitter)
A champion is known not only for his medals but also for the heart that shows their golden spirit. Filipino surfer Roger Casugay personified this truth when he gave up his lead in a gold medal race to save opponent, Arip Nurhidayat of Indonesia on Friday.
Casugay's heroic deed has made rounds all over social media when he was competing in the 3rd round of the men's longboard surfing competition of the Southeast Asian Games 2019.
Casugay was in pole position with a sizable lead when his competitor, Arip Nurhidayat of Indonesia, was pounded by triple overhead bomb waves which led to his leash being broken.
At that moment Casugay took the decision to help Nurhidayat, giving up his chance to win a gold medal in the event.
His heroic act led to Indonesian President Joko Widodo praising the surfing hero for rescuing his Indonesian opponent.
In a tweet, he said, "Winning the competition and upholding sportsmanship is important, but humanity is above all. My appreciation for Roger Casugay, a Filipino surfer who gave up the golden opportunity to help Indonesian athletes who fell in the race. Greetings from Indonesia."
Memenangkan kompetisi dan menjunjung sportivitas itu penting, tapi kemanusiaan di atas segalanya.
Apresiasi saya untuk Roger Casugay, peselancar Filipina yang melepas kesempatan meraih emas demi menolong atlet Indonesia yang terjatuh dalam lomba.
Salam hormat dari Indonesia. pic.twitter.com/5c5CJoccCQ
— Joko Widodo (@jokowi) December 9, 2019
Praising his deed, Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William "Butch" Ramirez said: “These Games are not only about medals. It is about character, resilience, love for one another and shoring up the faith of the person next to you, something that Casugay has exemplified.’
However, redemption came at last on Sunday when he won the gold toppling Rogelio Esquievel Jr. in the final.
Casugay also contributed to the Philippines' record-setting medal haul on Sunday when he ruled the longboard event after beating local favorite Esquivel Jr in an all-Filipino final with a score of 14.50 as to Esquivel's 14.20 mark
After his impressive gold-medal win and inspiring heroic act, Casugay has also been chosen to be Philippines' flag-bearer for the closing ceremony on December 11 at New Clark's Athletics Stadium.