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Stephie D’Souza

Born : December 26, 1936 at Goa Arjuna Award : 1963
Died : September 11, 1998 at Jamshedpur

              A born athlete Stephie D’Souza spearheaded the Indian quartet that won the 4 x 400m relay gold at the Manila Asian Games in 1954. Anchoring the second leg she imposed a lead of 4 meters on the Japanese sprinter, which ultimately proved decisive. The other members of the team were Violet Peters, Christine Brown and Mary D’Souza. She was placed second in the 200m in the next Asiad at Tokyo in 1958. She was also a member of the 4 x 100m relay squad, which finished third. The same year she also appeared for the country in the Cardiff Commonwealth Games.

            Stephie D’Souza first arrived on the national scene as a 16 year school student in 1953 when she won the Long Jump gold in the National Championship. There after she dominated the national athletic scene for nearly 12 years. During this period she held national records in 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m. She first won 200m gold in 1954 and then remained at the helm from1958 to 1964. She also claimed six gold in a row from 1959 to 1964 in 100m sprint. She had the distinction of setting the national record of 12.2s in 100m in 1961. Then she went on to create new marks in 400m and 800m events in 1964. She was picked to represent India in the Tokyo Olympic Games in 400m.

            Stephie D’Souza also played Hockey for the country – thus she was a double international, a rare achievement. She represented India on her tour to England in 1953 and captained the Indian team against Sri Lanka in 1961.

            First woman in any sport to receive Arjuna Award Stephie D’Souza was a member of the All India Council for Sports for many years. She breathed her last in 1998 after short illness.
Career Highlights  

National championship Won gold medals in 100m (1957, 1959-64), 200m (1954, 1957-64), 400m (1964), 800m (1964) and Long Jump (1953).
Asian Games 1954 Manila (gold in 4 x 100m relay, 49.5s and 4th in 200m) and 1958 Tokyo (silver in 200m, 26.3s; bronze in 4 x 100m relay, 49.4s and 4th in 100m).
Commonwealth Games 1958 Cardiff  (100m & 200m, eliminated in heats)
Olympic Games 1964 Tokyo (400m)
Other Meets Toured Germany and Holland in 1964.


….  by Arun Arnaw Khare


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