India’s gold medalist Violet Peters

By Kersi Meher-Homji  

India’s Asian Games gold medalist Violet Peters passed away in Melbourne last week. She was 86.

She had etched her name in fame when winning a gold medal in the 1954 Asian Games in Manila, Philippines. In 49.5 seconds she had achieved this along with Christine Brown, Stephie D’Souza and Mary D’Souza. This was the first gold medal won by an Indian women’s team in the Asian Games.

As a young 19 year old stenographer she had worked at Airfreight, Neville House in Mumbai. Recollects her friend Mithi Daver (nee Banaji) from Sydney, “Violet ”˜Kuku’ Peters was an outstanding athlete of the 1950s and 60s. There was no one who could glide over the hurdles as swiftly as her.”

Her first coach Mr Woodcock had affectionately nicknamed her Kuku.   Later she was coached by Jal Pardiwalla and Ulal Rao.

Violet ”˜Kuku’ Peters was selected for 18 consecutive All India Athletic championships while representing Maharashtra. “Her special event was the 80 metres hurdles in which event she set four national records at the All India championships, winning 11 crowns”, recalls Mithi Daver.

Mithi Davar with Violet Peters

Violet represented India at three Asian Games ”“ at Delhi in 1951, Manila in 1954 and Tokyo in 1958. She was a member of the relay team which won the gold medal at Manila and the bronze at Tokyo.

She also excelled in hockey and basketball representing her state Maharashtra in both sports. In the 1965 All India Hockey Nationals in Pune, she was the highest goal scorer, netting 12 goals in three matches. Through her sporting career, she visited 17 countries and a staggering 85 cities across the globe.

Her nephew Dickie Boyle fondly remembers. “For her, the joy of participation was far greater than the desire to win. She migrated to Australia in her later years.”

Recalls Mithi, “For many of us who were starting out in the sporting world, ”˜Kuku’ was an inspiration and role model we all looked up to. She was always full of fun, lively and the life and soul of every team she was part of. She will be sorely missed.”



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