Hero surfer Roger Casugay receives international Fair Play Award

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 11 2020 04:31 PM | Updated as of Aug 11 2020 08:52 PM

Hero surfer Roger Casugay receives international Fair Play Award 1
President Rodrigo Duterte shares a light moment with Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Roger Casogay during a meeting with the Philippine surfing team at the Malacañan Palace. Richard Madelo, Presidential Photo

MANILA, Philippines -- Surfer Roger Casugay, one of the country's heroes in last year's Southeast Asian Games, has been given the Pierre de Coubertin Act of Fair Play Award by the Comité International du Fair-Play (International Fair Play Committee).

He is the first Filipino athlete to receive the award, named after the father of the international Olympic movement.

Philippine Sports Commission chairman William "Butch" Ramirez, who was also the chef-de-mission in the SEA Games, expressed his pride at the recognition of Casugay's heroic act.

The surfer made headlines during the games when he gave up an opportunity to win a gold medal and instead saved a competitor from Indonesia.

"We are very proud of Roger because he has truly exemplified the true meaning of being a Filipino and a sportsman," Ramirez said in a statement.

The International Surfing Association, through its membership and development manager Alex Reynolds, informed the United Philippine Surfing Association Tuesday of Casugay's achievement of one of the most prestigious awards in the field of sports.

Casugay, 26, earned respect and praise from SEA Games visitors and local sports fans, and went on to win the gold in the same event after judges decided to do a rerun, following deliberation.

"It is a more fulfilling achievement to be recognized for character than skills and achievements. It shows who we are as people and 
as a nation," said Ramirez.

"Seven months after the Games, we are still feeling the pride that our national athletes achieved for the Filipino people," he added. 

"Truly, sports is an advocacy that keeps giving."

The award, inaugurated in 1965, is set to be officially given to Casugay on October 27. He may fly to Monaco to personally receive the award, should the global health crisis ease at that point. He also has an option to receive the award virtually.

Surfing made its debut in the SEA Games, with Filipino surfers winning two golds, two silvers, and three bronzes to emerge as overall champions.

Casugay was the flag bearer during the Closing Ceremonies held at the New Clark City in Tarlac.

(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).