By Maria de Lourdes Bravo da Costa Rodrigues
Goans trait as sportsmen is well known having made their mark even in Olympics, where the Indian hockey team in the yesteryears had a number of Goan players.
In modern times we have Leander Paes, the ace tennis player, as a representative of the Goan community. That we are good footballers is known to all, but we have also marked our imprint in the other areas of field sports, like athletics, swimming, etc. However, it would be interesting to know that a Goan, Torquato Monteiro, decided to show his skill in a different way by using his stamina and physical power, by taking a journey on foot from Goa to Rome!
This happened way back in thirties of the twentieth century. Monteiro left Goa on October 22, 1933 and returned to Goa on March 19, 1934. The distance travelled by him was calculated to be around 6000 miles which was covered in 147 days. If an estimate is made of how many miles he covered per day, an average around 47 miles per day without stopping a single day, would be the answer. That means if he walked 4 miles an hour, than he had to walk 10 hours to cover 40 miles.
However, as per Monteiro’s statement he had covered somewhere 433 miles in six days during his journey. Considering this distance covered by him, the average can be calculated at more than 72 miles per day leaving only six hours for rest. Walking at the rate of four miles per hour for 18 hours in six consecutive days to cover the 433 miles is an extraordinary achievement!
Moreover, the journey was made difficult for him by some countries as they made it complicated to get the visas, but this did not deter our adventurer who successfully attained his objective.
On his return journey, by steamer from Bombay, he was received in Goa as a hero, with a big crowd waiting enthusiastically at the Pangim docks to welcome him, on arrival. A band was also present to welcome with music the globe trotter. People were eager to shake hands with Monteiro and there was a big rush to meet him.
He was then ceremoniously taken to the Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church at Pangim. Along the route crackers were burnt and the crowd which was seen not only on the road but standing on the verandas and at the windows applauded the hero. After the religious service was over, people gathered outside the Church where Mr Hermogenes de Sa spoke on Monteiro’s adventurous feat and concluded his speech raising hurrahs to him!
Monteiro was then taken around the city so that people could see and congratulate the hero. A big crowd accompanied him along with the band which played lively music and burning of the crackers.
Hurrahs for Torcato Monteiro! Anybody willing to repeat the feat?