- Mary D’souza: India’s First Female Olympian and Double International
The wait for recognition from the Indian Govt. for Mary Dsouza (81) is finally over. Mary Dsouza (Sequeira) from Aldona (Goa) set a trail for other Indian Women in the field of Sports in India. After 62 yrs she will be finally honored with Dhyanchand Award, India’s highest award for lifetime achievement in sports and games, given by the Government of India.
Indian contingent at Helsinki Olympics 1952
Mary Dsouza was part of the 1952 Helsinki Olympics — the first time India sent women athletes to the quadrennial games. She won bronze in the 200m and silver in the 4x100m relay at the inaugural Asian Games in 1951 in New Delhi. At Helsinki Mary Dsouza (competed in the sprints) & Nilima Ghose (competed in 100m and 80m hurdles) were the first Indian women Olympians, they may have not broken or set any records but they were the trendsetters for the rest of Indian sportswomen.
Remember this great athlete called ‘Jesse Owens‘ whom we studied about when in school? It is indeed an honor for us Goans, to know that our very own Mary Dsouza was training herself along with Jesses Owens in those days!
Mary Dsouza with Jesse Owens in India
Mary Dsouza training with Jesse Owens
Mary Dsouza’s Achievements:
- Won bronze in the 200m and silver in the 4x100m relay at the inaugural Asian Games in 1951 in New Delhi.
- Represented India for the Olympics in 1952 in Helsinki.
- Selected to represent India in Melbourne Olympics 1956 (did not go due to lack of funds)
- Asian Record Holder for 100 meters
- Indian Hockey Player
- Represented India for World Cup Hockey in London 1953
- Represented India for World Cup Hockey in Australia 1956
- Indian record holder from 1950-1957 in 100m , 200m and 80m Hurdles
- Indian National level represented from 1950-1957
- Represented India in Srilanka 1957 Track meet
- Represented India in India v/s Japan 1962 for Hockey
Mary Dsouza in action
Mary Dsouza’s Records:
100m National record of 12.3 seconds set in Feb 1954 at National meet at Delhi and same was repeated in 1956 Nationals at Patiala was all time fastest timing by Indian female in 100m till 1959.
Mary was four times the National Champion in 100m and 200m
12.7 seconds: Madras National 1952
12.6 seconds: Jabalpur National 1953
12.3 seconds: Delhi National 1954
12.3 seconds: Patiala National 1956
12.4 seconds: Patiala National 1956
26.1 seconds: Madras National 1952
26.2 seconds: Calcutta National 1955
25.7 seconds: Patiala National 1956
25.7 seconds: Patiala National 1956
12.7 seconds: Jabalapur National 1953
Mary Dsouza and the team at the 2nd Asian Games won the 4 x 100 meter relay with a New Asian Games Record of 49.5 seconds.
Winning Indian Relay team at the Asian Games Manila 1954 1
(Mary Dsouza standing first from the left)
Our very own superstar Mary Dsouza with Harrison Dillard, American winner of 1952 Olympic games & 4 times gold medal winner
Yesterday the Sports Ministry’s awards committee, headed by Sports Secretary Pradeep Kumar Deb, has approved the names of Syed Ali (hockey), Anil Mann (wrestling), Mary Dsouza (athletics) and Giriraj Singh (para athletics) for the award. The Dhyanchand award is given for lifetime achievement in the field of sports. While she’s being honored by the central Govt. her recognition is still due in her own state.
Nilima Ghosh & Mary Dsouza with the winning US men relay team at 1952 Olympics
Team of Goenchi Mathi salutes and congratulates Mary Dsouza for her achievement and courage. We are proud of you!
Photo credit: Marissa Sequeria (Mary’s daughter) & Jojo Dsouza (Mary’s nephew)