CLARK, Pampanga – After his impressive gold-medal run and inspiring heroic act, surfing champion Roger Casogay earned the distinction to serve as the Philippines' flag bearer in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games closing ceremonies on Wednesday, December 11 at the New Clark City Athletics Stadium.
Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William "Butch" Ramirez made the announcement on Monday, December 9, noting Casogay – whose story went viral for rescuing an Indonesian opponent in the middle of competition – exemplified the sportsmanship of Filipino athletes that merited him the honor. (READ: 'Heart of gold': Pinoy SEA Games surfer lauded for saving competitor from drowning)
“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 Casogay has exemplified,’’ said Ramirez.
Casogay also contributed to the Philippines' record-setting medal haul on Sunday when he ruled the longboard event after beating local favorite Rogelio Esquivel Jr in an all-Filipino final with a score of 14.50 as to Esquivel's 14.20 mark. (READ: Hero surfer Casogay beats Indonesian he saved before golden ride)
But Casogay downplayed his heroic act. (READ: Surf savior and champ Roger Casogay: 'I’m not a hero')
“No, I'm not a hero,” Casogay said. “I didn't really save him from drowning. He is a good swimmer. I just calmed him down.”
Last Friday, December 6, Casogay was going head-to-head against Arip Nurhidiyat when the leash on the Indonesian's surfboard got detached during the event. As Arip got swept away by the waves, Casogay paddled out to help him. – Rappler.com
More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.