Roger Casugay
Hero surfer tapped as Philippine flag-bearer in SEA Games closing rites
Joey Villar ( - December 9, 2019 - 1:50pm

CAPAS, Tarlac — Roger Casugay has gone from an ordinary surfer to a hero and a Southeast Asian Games gold medalist, and now to the Philippines’ closing ceremony flag-bearer in just a few days.

Casugay, who almost lost the gold medal to save the life of an Indonesian foe, was bestowed the honor of carrying the country’s flag during the closing rites of the 30th SEAG Wednesday at the New Clark City here.

“By sacrificing his chance for a gold to save an opponent, he embodies the true essence of being a sport man,” said Philippine Sports Commission chairman William “Butch” Ramirez, referring to Casugay.

Casugay captured the gold in the long board event of surfing after he bested countryman Jay-R Esquivel Sunday in San Fernando, La Union.

He also turned back in the semis Indonesian Arip Nurhidayat, the same person whose life he saved after the latter’s leash snapped, lost his board to the rolling waves and nearly drowned.

If organizers hadn’t put their match on hold, it wouldn’t have deprived Casugay the chance to claim the gold.

But when he was saving the life of Nurhidayat, he wasn’t thinking of the gold he may have lost.

That is heroism.

For that, Casugay will have the honor of leading a phalanx of Filipino champion athletes, including world beaters Caloy Yulo, Rubilen Amit, Margie Didal, EJ Obiena, Nesthy Petecio, Eumir Marcial, Meggie Ochoa and Kiyomi Watanabe.

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