(UPDATE) Roger Casogay won the men’s longboard gold medal in Southeast Asian Games surfing in La Union on Sunday, two days after he disregarded a sizable lead in the competition to save an Indonesian participant who had trouble with his gear.
Meanwhile, Filipino surfer Rogelio Esquievel took the silver.
Casogay’s victory is a mere afterthought now, considering what he did on Friday.
Leading in his head-to-head duel in the qualifying round, Casogay risked his lead to help Arip Nurhidayat whose leg rope snapped, putting the Indonesian surfer’s life in danger.
“Tinulungan ko na siya," Casogay said, “ina-announce na kasi na malayo na siya."
At that point, national surfing coach Luke Landrigan said, an athlete’s desire to win takes a backseat and the humanitarian impulse kicks in.
“Kahit na kalaban natin iyon, ang No. 1 goal pa rin natin dito is safe and have a good and friendly competition kahit na at stake iyong gold, silver, bronze," Landrigan said.
Prior to Casogay winning the gold, Philippine Sports Commission chairman William Ramirez on Sunday said a hefty reward awaits the lifesaver champion.
“I will include Roger in our awarding in Malacanang to meet the President. The PSC will give him a plaque of recognition for his heroic deed and a cash incentive to be approved by the PSC board," he said in a statement.
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