Hyderabad bags Saina for $120,000, Mumbai pays $135,000 for Lee Chong Wei

New Delhi, July 22 (IANS) India's top shuttler and Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal was sold to Hyderabad Hostshots for a whopping $120,000 while World No.1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia got the highest bid of $135,000 from Mumbai Masters at the inaugural players' auction of the Indian Badminton League (IBL) here Monday.

India's rising stars Parupalli Kashyap and P.V. Sindhu were sold to Banga Beats for $75,000 and Lucknow Warriors for $80,000. All he four icon players had a base price of $50,000.

The remaining two icon players, Jawala Gutta and Ashwini Ponappa, who are women's doubles specialists, were sold below their base price of $50,000 to Delhi Smashers and Pune Pistons.

Since there are no women's doubles matches in the IBL, the franchises requested the governing council of the tournament to halve the base price of the two players. Jawala went to Delhi for $31,000 and Ashwini was picked up by Pune for her reduced base price of $25,000.

IBL officials, however, said that they would compensate the two players. They will pay Jwala $19,000 and $25,000 to Ashwini.

The $1 million IBL will be conducted in six cities August 14-31. The richest badminton league in the world will feature almost all the top-50 players in the world.

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