Raipur: In a rare display of grit and guts, Poonam Chaturvedi won her team the 65th National Women Basketball Championship title at Bhilwara in Rajasthan on Monday, braving all odds including the shooting pains in her head caused by the brain turmour she has been suffering for the past one year.
19-year-old Poonam, the architect of the close victory of Chhattisgarh women basketball team over mighty Delhi with scores 84-75, scored herself 28 points unmindful of the piercing pains she was experiencing in her head all through the final game, held on Monday.
“Itna sar dard ho raha tha ki main soch rahi thi mera sar phat jayegi (The pain in my head was so severe that I felt my head would break),” the Kanpur-born girl told this newspaper on phone in the midst of her journey from Bhilwara to Raipur in the train. “The tumour caused me trouble in all the seven games I played in the championship,” she said.
Poonam, said to be Asia’s tallest basketball player with height of 7ft, won player of the tournament title for scoring highest points of 178 in the championship.
“She was diagnosed with brain tumour in March 2014. She had to miss the 15-day training of All India Basketball camp at Ahmedabad in December 2013 when she suffered severe headache. Later, MRI and CITI scan done on her have confirmed development of brain tumour,” the team coach Rajesh Patel told this newspaper.