SAN JUAN, La Union, Dec. 8 (PIA) - - Ilokano hero Roger Casugay bagged the country's first gold medal on the maiden surfing event of the 30th Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) after besting his fellow Ilokano archrival during the final round of the men's longboard category this Sunday at Monalisa Point here.
Casugay, 25, who earned the people's hearts after saving his Indonesian rival in the tournament's qualifying round on Thursday, got an over-all 14.50 points or .30 point margin against the 14.20 points of Rogelio Esquivel Jr., who got the silver medal.
During the culminating ceremony, Casugay emotionally received his gold medal from La Union Governor Francisco Emmanuel Ortega III.
Casugay gained a hero accolade from the people and netizens for disregarding a sizeable lead in the competition to save an Indonesian rival, Arip Nurhidayat, who had trouble with his gear during the competition.
Nurhidayat, whose surfing board leash was broken, was swept away by a strong wave at the height of their contest when Casugay rescued him. They shared on one surfboard on their way back to the shore. Both surfers stood up displaying their skills while riding the same wave in one long surfboard notwithstanding losing his chance to win the gold where the crowd cheered with greatness and joy.
The incident gained the ire of social media and the netizens. They said that Casugay is a hero, who deserved all the golds in the world and the winner of all times.
In a social post of Dew Luis, he reiterated that Ilokandia is the birthplace of great heroes.
In La Union, we have a local surfer guy, a humble and professional surfer from Bacnotan named Casugay.
"That spirit of "Saranay" over the fierce waves that rolled, shows off that Ilokano's extraordinary deed and heroic culture throughout the world," Luis said.
"We Win As One, and that indeed, is our silver lining; just can't help to say this piece, to a Great Surfer, Roger Casugay," he added.
For Guro PH and Nurse PH, both quoted that Casugay has shown the Filipino heart to the world.
"What makes SEA Games 2019 being held in the Philippines great is not the sparkle of greatness. It's all about the heart behind it. The Filipino heart in times of danger, will not think twice of doing what is right," it was said in the social media post. (JCR/FLG, PIA 1)