Roger Casugay, Team Philippine’s bet to bring home Gold in the 2019 SEA Games’ surfing event, was a shoo-in to win. The surfer lived in La Union and was all too familiar with Mona Liza’s point, a popular surf spot in the area and the site of the competition.
However, he did not let his ambition for Gold or his huge advantage, take over his love of the sport today. In fact, he sacrificed his own performance to rescue his competitor, Indonesian longboard sensation Arip Nurhidayat.
Nurhdayat broke his leash in the middle of the race for the gold and was swept away by fierce waves. The talented athlete was pounded by triple overhead bomb waves. Luckily, he was rescued by the man who was battling him for first place. Casugay quickly came to help Nurhdayat and ensure the safety of the compromised surfer.
The entire ordeal was captured by netizen Jefferson Ganuelas. His post recounted the events and praised the Filipino spirit shown by Casugay. Luckily, both athletes avoided any serious harm despite the grave situation.
Truly, the #WeWinAsOne motto of the 30th SEA Games applies not only to Team Philippines but to the entire ASEAN region. As the Games go on, it is important to remember that the joy of the sport and the honor of good sportsmanship are more valuable than any gold medal. As Casugay has shown, what’s more important than winning is winning together.
The Surfing event for the 2019 SEA Games is currently suspended and awaiting rescheduling.