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Roger Casugay given 'Fair Play' award for act of heroism

Roger Casugay waves the Philippine flag during the closing ceremonies of the SEA Games. PSC

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—With the waves at the west coast still strong on Friday due to the aftermath of Typhoon "Tisoy", Indonesian surfer Arip Nurdihayat found himself in a tough position as his surfboard's leash got broken and was swept away by the seawater.

Filipino opponent Roger Casugay could have taken advantage of it and just pull away from their Southeast Asian Games men's longboard event match.

But instead, Casugay showed that he cares for his fellow surfers when he got back to where Nurdihayat was and saved him from drowning.

This act of heroism and sportsmanship did not go unnoticed as netizens from the Philippines and Indonesia—and President Joko Widodo as well—and even in some other parts of the world applauded Casugay's deed.

On Wednesday night during the closing ceremonies at the New Clark City Athletic Stadium in Capas, the Southeast Asian Games formally acknowledged his save on Nurdihayat by naming him this year's fair play athlete. Casugay became the first Filipino winner of the said award.

In an earlier move to acknowledge his effort, Casugay was named the flag bearer for the Philippine team during the SEA Games closing event.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno