Manila, Philippines, August 11, 2020: The Philippine Sports Commission has congratulated surfer Roger Casugay for being awarded the Pierre de Coubertin Act of Fair Play Trophy by the International Fair Play Committee.
Casugay, 26, made headlines around the world last December when the Philippines hosted the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
Competing in the men’s longboard semi-finals at San Juan, La Union, Casugay noticed that a competitor from Indonesia had fallen off his surfboard and was being battered by high waves.
Without thinking about the outcome of the competition or his own safety, the Philippines surfer instead focused on going to the aid of his stricken rival and managed to rescue him from drowning and bring him to shore.
Event organisers held a rematch of the semi-final, which Casugay won; he then went on to beat a fellow Filipino and win the gold medal for his country.
His act of sportsmanship earned him a special trophy at the end of the SEA Games and later a civil national hero award; it has now been recognised by the International Fair Play Committee.
“Congratulations Roger Casugay for being awarded the Pierre de Coubertin Act of Fair Play Award by the International Fair Play Committee with his heroic act in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. We are so proud of you,” said the PSC, which is the government agency, on a Facebook post on Tuesday.
Since its foundation by UNESCO and a number of international sports governing bodies in Paris in 1963, the goal of the International Fair Play Committee is the worldwide defence and promotion of fair play.
One of the three categories in the awards is “for an act of fair play by complying with both the written and unwritten rules of sport” and this fits the heroic deed of the Filipino surfer.