New Delhi: Olympic medallist Indian grapplers Yogeshwar Dutt and Sushil Kumar were the highest grossers in the Pro Wrestling League auction held here on Tuesday.
The 2012 Olympics Bronze medallist Yogeshwar, who attracted the highest bids, was bought for Rs.39.70 lakh by team Haryana. Sushil went for Rs. 38.20 lakh and was snapped up by team Uttar Pradesh.
Both Yogeshwar and Sushil were the first to get auctioned as they belong to the 'Icon' players category with each team having one. All Icon players had a base price of Rs.33 lakh.
The others were home grown Narsingh Yadav, who went to JSW Group owned Bengaluru for Rs. 34.5 lakh, top female wrestler and 2010 Commonwealth Games champion Geeta Phogat to Punjab, owned by CDR Group and legendary Bollywood actor Dharmendra, for her base price of Rs.33 lakh.
The Mumbai franchise, owned by Maverick Industries and Mafatlal Industries, bought American grappler Adeline Gray for Rs.37 lakh while Swedish Sofia Mattison was bought for her base price of Rs.33 lakh.
Apart from these six icon players bought by each of the six teams, the other names to make a mark in the auction were Georgia's Vladimir Khinchegashvili, who bought by Punjab franchise for Rs.35.3 lakh from his base price of Rs.33 lakh.
Indian wrestler Amit Dahiya was sold to Haryana for Rs.30.1 lakh from his base price of Rs.23 lakh while Bajrang Punia was sold to Bengaluru for Rs.29.5 lakh from his base price of Rs.23 lakh.
Another Georgian Petriashivili Geno was sold for Rs.33.4 lakh from his reserve price of Rs.22 lakh.
A total of 159 wrestlers went under the hammer to be bought by each of the six franchises - New Delhi, Bengaluru, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab with each having a purchase capacity of Rs.2 crore.
The tournament, with a total prize money of Rs.3 crore will be held from December 10-27. A total of 18 ties will be held during the tournament, 15 among them in the league phase, followed by two semi-finals and the final. Each tie comprises of nine bouts and will be played in accordance with the Olympics rules.
Each team will each have nine players (five men and four women). Also, each team can have a maximum of five Indians and four foreigners.
The tournament will be conducted by ProSportify in association with the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI). The bidding was conducted by international auctioneer Bob Hayton.
"India has had a long history of wrestling. We are focussing on popularising and building on Olympic sports in India. More than 29 national federations will be sending their wrestlers to the PWL," ProSpotify director Vishal Gurnani told IANS.
"There will be certain celebrities who will also be joining the franchises as the brand ambassadors, the information for which will be given in due course."
PWL Icon players:
Yogeshwar Dutt- Haryana for Rs.39.70 lakh
Sushil Kumar - Uttar Pradesh for Rs.38.20 lakh
Adeline Gray - Mumbai for Rs.37 lakh
Narsingh Yadav - Bengaluru for Rs.34.50 lakh
Geeta Phogat - Punjab for Rs.33 lakh
Sofia Mattsson - New Delhi for Rs.33 lakh