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St Stanislaus pays homage to famous alumni Leo Pinto

Students of the St Stanislaus High School Bandra observed a minute's silence when school opened on Wednesday morning as homage to a famous alumni,India's oldest surviving Olympian, Leo Pinto, who passed away at the age of 96 on Tuesday.Later a few schoolboys carried the school flag and created an arch of hockey sticks as the coffin was taken from St Francis D'Assisi Church to the St Peters seaside cemetery.

At the mass, Fr Jude Fernandes SJ, Principal of St Stanislaus, Pinto's Alma Mater, said the player with his Olympiad deeds, had vindicated the school's motto, `Natus Ad Majora' which meant 'Born for Greater Things'.

After the service Pinto's granddaugher read a tribute recalling  her grandfather's genial nature. No wonder the church was full, as if entire Bandra had turned up.Before the body was lowered into the grave the students of St Stanislaus and their sports director Hycinth Cardoz , sang the schools anthem after which the people paid respects to daughter Susan and son Darryl.

A host of sportsfolk from Tata Sports Club led by billiards ace Mike Ferreira, Anu D'Cruz, Apanna, Gilbert and Clarence Lobo and players of a later era like Diago D'Souza were present. Ferreira summed up the feelings of the players when in his tribute he said, "I had the good fortune of being with Leo Pinto for a long time during my job with Tomco and again when Pinto worked with the Billiards and Snooker Association of Maharashtra. I never ever saw him sad." From Hockey Olympians of the 60s like Kulwant Arora, to those of later years like Mervyn Fernandes, Joaquim Carvalho(a Stanislite), Mir Ranjan Negi,Viren Rasquinha (a Stanislite) and Dhanraj Pillay  were there to lift the coffin

Negi remarked, "Even in death his face retains an unmistakable shine." Rasquinha said, "Whenever I met him he was always positive." Dhanraj Pillay said he would take youngsters to Pinto's house to make them aware of India's greatness in the sport.

The author Pradeep Vijayakar is an alumni of St. Stanislaus High School, Class of 1966