Leo Pinto

Leo Hillary Knowles Pinto was born in Nairobi, East Africa on 11th April 1914. He hails from Camarcazona, Maupsa, Bardez in Goa.Leo Graduated from St. Stanislaus High School in 1932.

From a very early age he showed intense enthusiasm for playing games and displayed such lively interest in his studies, that his parents, when he was eight sent him to Bombay where they felt that he would receive a better education and have numerous opportunities to develop his apparent talent for all sports.

Leo thus joined Antonio Desouza High School at Byculla and it was in this school's small compound adjoining the church that he learnt to play hockey, football, cricket, badminton and boxing. Athletics also claimed Leo's interest and in one year he carried off the Junior Championship.

At the age of 13 Leo took, almost instinctively it now seems, the decision to don pads and become a goalie- a position he was later to be hailed as one of the greats in the world of hockey.

He played at this young age his first major matches in the Aga Khan Hockey Tournament for the Byculla Rovers.

In 1930 Leo's parents left East Africa and settled in Bombay, and as they took up residence in Bandra, Leo joined St. Stanislaus High School in Bandra.

At St. Stanislaus Leo represented his school's  team in Hockey, Football and Cricket. In the latter sport he excelled in wicket-keeping, he was also regarded as a good and reliable opening bat. In Football Leo played as right winger and was found to be quite speedy in this position. Inspite of his success in cricket and football, hockey remained for Leo his favorite game.

1932: joined St. Xavier's College and represented the college in all the Inter College tournaments in the company of stalwarts of the game like Owen Ferreira, Willie Fernandes, Thimaya and Fr. Fritz.

1936: Leo whose fame was now known throughout the country was considered a certainty for the Berlin Olympics but for a serious concussion of the brain during the Olympic trials.

1938: played for the famous Lusitanian hockey club. They had brilliant success in the Bombay Hockey League, The Provincial Hockey Championship and Lews Cup. They also won the Aga Khan Hockey tournament.

1947: was a member of the Indian Hockey Federation team that went on a goodwill tour of Kenya under the Captainship of the great Dayan Chand.

1948: was invited to play for the House of Tata's hockey team in the company of hockey greats like Gentle, Perumal, Lawrie Fernandes, Henry Carvalho, Francis Coutinho and others. During this time Tata's won several hockey tournaments like the Aga Khan, Beighton besides the Bombay Hockey League, Provincial and Invitational tournaments.

In the latter half of 1948 Leo was selected to represent the country at the London Olympics where India won the gold medal. This turned out to be the pinnacle of his career.

1951: captained the Indian XI which played in Delhi in an exhibition match against the Japanese Hockey team.

1952: The House of Tatas chose Leo as manager cum player on the Goodwill Tour of its hockey team to Kenya. In the same year inspite of his brilliant form he did not make it to the Helsinki Olympics for reasons other than hockey.

1954-1966: was appointed as selector of the Bombay University Hockey teams by the University Board of Sports.

1959-60: was co-opted as a member of the Managing Committee of the Bombay Hockey Association

1970: was appointed manager of the Tata Sports Club's tour of Ceylon

1972: appointed as selector by the Indian hockey Federation, along with KD Sing Babu, Keshav Dutt, Nundey Singh, RS Bhola and RS Gentel for selection of the Indian Hockey team for the Munich Olympic Games.

Leo Pinto has left an indelible mark in the world of hockey. At 92 he is still mentally and physically active and lives in Bandra.

Mark's picture

Leo as Singer

Leo Pinto was an exceptional singer too.  I had the good fortune to sing alongside him on many an occasion.  He had a soothing melodious tenor and his rendition of "Danny Boy" raised the hairs on the body. A multi talented man, indeed!

Sesquicentenary Inauguration

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