MANILA -- Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Monday thanked Filipino surfer Roger Casogay for saving an Indonesian competitor during a Southeast Asian Games surfing event last week.
Casogay lost his chance to vie for a medal, after helping fellow surfer and competitor Arip Nurhidayat who broke his ankle leash and was swept by giant waves in San Juan, La Union last Friday.
"Winning the competition and upholding sportsmanship is important, but humanity is above all," Widodo said in a tweet.
"My appreciation for Roger Casugay, a Filipino surfer who gave up the golden opportunity to help Indonesian athletes who fell in the race. Greetings from Indonesia," he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte has summoned Casogay to Malacañang after the SEA Games, Philippine Sports Commission chair William "Butch" Ramirez said in a statement.
The La Union-born surfer was also chosen to be the Philippines' flag-bearer in the SEA Games closing ceremonies at the New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac.
"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 Casugay has exemplified," Ramirez said.
"The very spirit shown by the heroism of Roger who gave up his chance for a golden finish to save an opponent at risk of losing his life to the very waves they play in... Truly a class act, a solid show of the Filipino spirit."
While the public lauded Casogay's heroic deed, the Filipino surfer downplayed it saying: "I’m no hero. He’s (Nurhidayat) a good swimmer, I just calmed him down."