FOREIGN sports officials and athletes have continuously heaped praises on the ongoing superb and world-class Philippine hosting of the ongoing 30th South East Asian Games (SEAG).
In particular, they hailed the priceless act of heroism and sportsmanship of Filipino surfer Roger Casugay who displayed from the heart of selfless Filipino when he rescued his Indonesian rival Arip Nurhidayat and set aside the chance of wining the gold medal for the surfing competition last December 6.
Indonesian sports officials expressed gratitude to Casugay for saving Arip who was swept away and pounded by bomb of waves after his surfboard leash broke in the middle of the third round of the surfing men’s longboard competition at Monaliza Point in La Union.
Timor Leste officials and athletes were also overwhelmed and very thankful to SEAG organizers and Filipinos who showed huge support, including prayers for them to win a SEAG medal.
As of press time Sunday, Timor Leste was the only SEAG participating nation which did not get a medal.
Many Timor Leste sports officials and athletes are billeted for free at the Philippine Sports Athlete’s Dormitory in Pasig City.
“The hospitality has been amazing. Everyone has been great to us,” said Timor Leste taekwondo jin Jennifer Lay.
Thailand lawn bowl coach Daniel John Simmons also conveyed their satisfaction to the world-class sporting facilities offered by the Philippines in Clark Freeport for lawn bowl competition.
Simmons said he was amazed how the Philippines was able to establish world-class sports facilities in just 40 days for lawn bowl competition.
“Traditionally, to put up a facility like this would usually take 18 months but they have managed to put it up for only 40 days and to have this support and all of these things for Lawn Bowl in the Philippines is marvelous,” Simmons pointed out.
Malaysian official Abdul Kader, director general of the International Sepaktakraw Federation, said he was also impressed with the Sepak Takraw venue at the Subic Gymnasium and even branded it as the best ever Sepak Takraw venue in SEAG history.
Even Olympic gold medalist and Singaporean swimming sensation Joseph Schooling said he was very satisfied with his 30th SEAG experience.
“It’s awesome. It’s amazing,” said Schooling who recognized growing up under the care of a Filipino nanny Yolanda “Auntie Yolly” Pascual who has been serving for 10 years with his family.
The SEAG first timer event esports also received praises as the Philippine hosting raised the bar for it.
Benjamin Assarasakorn of Thailand E-Sports Federation said other Asian nations should follow the “landmark hosting” of the Philippines, which showed the proper handling of esports.
“This will leave a legacy for the SEA countries, it’s our job to live up to the expectations that the Philippines has set,” said Assarasakorn.
They also cited the Philippines’ welcoming of athletes, officials and delegates from the participating countries with a festive atmosphere during the opening ceremony.
Even the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has expressed its admiration with how the country has been efficiently hosting the ongoing SEA Games, prompting OCA Vice President Jizhong Wei to urge the Philippines to consider bidding for the hosting rights of “bigger events” like the 2030 Asian Games.