Trend-Setting Champion of Women’s Hockey Elvera Britto Passes Away

Photo by John Torcasio on Unsplash

Elvera Britto, a brilliant player in the 1960s and a no-nonsense picker and administrator who tirelessly strove to improve women‘s hockey, died on Tuesday morning after an age-related illness. She was 81 years old at the time. Elvera Britto, the eldest of the three renowned Britto sisters, ruled the domestic circuit from 1960 to 1967, leading Karnataka to seven national victories. In a match against Australia, Sri Lanka, and Japan, she represented India.

Elvera used to play hockey, cricket, and football in her backyard with her sisters and cousins when she was a little girl. Swimming was also a fun activity for the entire family. But, like many Anglo-Indian families at the time, it was hockey that had them captivated. Elvera, Rita, and Mae, also known as the Britto sisters, are still well-known in the Fraser Town neighborhood where they have lived for decades.

The news of her death was announced on Hockey India’s Twitter account. “We regret to notify you of the demise of Elvera Britto, a former international hockey player and Arjuna Awardee recipient in 1965,” Hockey India wrote. Furthermore, “It is heartbreaking to learn of Elvera Britto’s death. In a statement, Hockey India president Gyanendro Ningombam said, “She was ahead of her time and accomplished so much in women’s hockey while continuing to support the sport as an administrator with the state.”

Additionally, she was the first woman to get the prestigious Arjuna Award, which she got in 1966. Elvera was the Government nominee on the National Selection Committee for nearly a decade following her playing career. For two terms, she was President of the Karnataka State Women’s Hockey Association.