New Delhi: India`s promising shuttlers such as K Srikanth and B Sai Praneeth are both thrilled and excited with the interests the franchises showed on them in the Indian Badminton League auctions held here on Monday.
20-year-old Srinkath, who was bagged by Awadhe Warriors for a pay cheque of USD 34,000 said here today: "This is unbelievable. I didn`t expect it. It felt extremely good to know that the franchisees were competing with each other to bid for me."
The 20-year-old who had stunned world No. 4 Boonsak Ponsana in the finals of the Thailand
Open Grand Prix last month and hails from Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, added, "My parents are very happy that the sport is getting me financial rewards. It will also give me an opportunity to play in a team event."
Sai Praneeth, a 20-year-old shuttler, who stunned former Olympic champion Taufiq Hidayat in the latter`s farewell match, was bagged by Krrish Delhi Smashers for USD 40,000.
"It` a huge motivation for a player like me. I was expecting around USD 20,000, but this was surprising," he said.
Guru Sai Dutt, the Commonwealth Youth Games 2008 champion, who was picked up by Awadhe Warriors for USD 40,000, said, "It`s great to be a part of the league which will help badminton and the players to grow. I`m looking forward to play for Awadhe Warriors."
Another promising youngster, the 18-year-old doubles player K Maneesha was picked up by Awadhe Warriors for USD 26,000, six times more than her base price of USD 4,000.
Maneesha, who won the Maldives International Challenge mixed doubles with K Nandagopal in June and the 2010 Commonwealth Youth Games, said, "I am a junior player and never expected to get so much money. The credit goes to Saina (Nehwal), Kashyap bhaiya, Ashwini
(Ponnappa) for taking badminton to a height so that all the youngsters like me are also now reaping the benefit. I felt very happy after the IBL auction.
Pradnya Gadre, amongst the top-10 highest buys in the IBL auction, felt lucky to be picked up by Hyderebad Hotshots for USD 46,000.
The 22-year-old doubles specialist said, "Frankly, I`m extremely happy to be part of the IBL and Hyderabad Hotshots team. It is a great opportunity for the juniors to get to play with international stars. It will be wonderful to be in the same team as Taufik Hidayat, who has been my idol for a long time."
The USD 1-million league is set to launch on August 14. The IBL will feature six franchises and will run for 18 days.
Each franchise will host a two-day leg and the league will involve 90 matches.
The top four franchises will clash in the semifinals and the winners will meet in the final on August 31 in Mumbai.