30TH SOUTHEAST Asian Games gold medalist and surfing star, Roger Casugay, once again brought honor to the country for being awarded the Pierre de Coubertin Act of Fair Play Award by the Comité International du Fair-Play (International Fair Play Committee), the first Filipino to have been awarded this prestigious award named after the father of the international Olympic movement.
Philippine Sports Commission Chairman and 30th SEAG Chef de Mission William Ramirez expressed his pride on this recognition of Casugay’s heroic act of kindness when he gave up his ride for gold to save a surfing competitor from Indonesia.
“We are very proud of Roger because he has truly exemplified the true meaning of being a Filipino and a sportsman,” said Ramirez.
The International Surfing Association (ISA) through its Membership and Development Manager Alex Reynolds, informed the United Philippine Surfing Association Tuesday of Casugay’s achievement of one of the most prestigious awards in the field of sports.
The 26-year-old Casugay, a native of San Fernando, La Union earned the highest respect and praise from SEAG visitors and local sports fans and enthusiasts and went on to win the gold in the same event after judges decided to rerun after deliberation.
“Above all, it is a more fulfilling achievement to be recognized for character than skills and achievements. It shows who we are as people and as a nation,” added the PSC Chief.
UPSA President Dr. Jose Raul Canlas echoes the sports chief’s comments, explaining “It is nice to recognize an athlete not only for his athletic skills but also for his humanity. Holding surfing during the Southeast Asian Games is a milestone event. It paved the way for the ISA to recognize the region and allowed Roger to be also recognized.”
According to Ramirez, this award shows that beyond the overwhelming victory of the national team, copping the overall championship of the Games, the values it taught our youth and people form part of the Games’ legacies. “Seven months after the Games, we are still feeling the pride that our national athletes achieved for the Filipino people. Truly, sports is an advocacy that keeps on giving,” remarked Ramirez, who served as CDM for the second time the country won top honors in the multi-sport event.
The award, inaugurated in 1965 and whose past recipients are heroic and notable humanitarian figures including Sergey Bubka (athletics), László Papp (boxing), Miguel Indurain (cycling) among others (fairplayinternational.org), is set to be officially given to Casugay on October 27. He is expected to fly to Monaco to personally receive the award, should the crisis permit. He also has an option to receive the award virtually.
Surfing made its debut in the recent biennial meet where the Filipino surfers finished as overall champions with 2 gold, 2 silver and 3 bronze medals including Casugay’s gold in the men’s longboard competition.
Casugay was the flag bearer of the host Philippines and a recipient of the “Fair Play” award during the Closing Ceremonies held in New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac last December. PR