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Indian women's footballer Poonam Chauhan dies of dengue

Chauhan's health fell quickly and was given financial aid by sports authorities on Tuesday.

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Poonam Chauhan has 18 caps in Junior and senior National Championships

Indian footballer Poonam Chauhan, who has as many as 18 caps for India in the junior and senior National Championships and has also played in the 2010 South Asian Games, died of dengue at a private hospital on Tuesday night.

Poonam was the youngest Indian to have been selected in the senior UP girls football team in 2001 and won gold medals in SAG and AFC tournaments. She even has a diploma in sports coaching from NIS, Patiala, apart from degrees in BA, BPEd and MPEd.

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Her last rites were carried out at Manikarnika Ghat on Wednesday. As a mark of respect, an Under-17 UP football championship match was postponed.

Following a drastic fall in her health, she was admitted to a local hospital on Monday. The chief medical officer Dr. VB Singh, told TOI, “Her platelets count dipped at a fast pace. The NS1 antigen test for dengue was positive, while the result of IgM and IgG tests were negative."

Poonam’s father, Munna Lal Chauhan, a former football coach, ran a stationery shop with her to make both ends meet. With her seemingly endless effort to land a decent job for herself, she finally signed a contract worth Rs 25,000 per month as a coach with Sigra Sports Stadium. The Sports Authority even gave a cheque of Rs.50,000 as financial aid to her on Tuesday, when she was battling for life.

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She had earlier pointed out how the nation had failed to support its growing sportspersons saying, "All accolades have now become a relic with no material benefits and there is no reward for making the nation proud as me and my father are trying to survive by running our stationery shop."

In her last interview with TOI on August 29, Chauhan bemoaned her lack of a government job, "Like every other sportsperson, even I was desirous of a government job and pursued higher education but nothing materialised. My father had been a batchmate of Olympian Muhammad Shahid in college. Even we received training from him and many of his students have represented the Indian team."

The news of her death was received with disbelief by sports authorities and players across the country.

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