New Delhi, July 22 (IANS) World No.1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia and India's Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal were sold for whopping price tags in the inaugural players' auction of the Indian Badminton League (IBL) here Monday.
Chong Wei went to Mumbai Masters for a whopping $135,000 while Saina was snapped up by her hometown franchise Hyderabad Hotshots for $120,000.
Four other Icon Players were also sold for big money. Star Indian shuttlers Parupalli Kashyap and P.V. Sindhu were sold respectively to Banga Beats ($75,000) and Lucknow Warriors ($80,000). All four had a base price of $50,000.
However, confusion greeted the audience and media when it came to the remaining Icons and women's doubles specialists Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponappa, whose base prices were reduced from $50,000 to $25,000.
Jwala was sold to Delhi Smashers for $31,000 while Ashwini was given to Pune Pistons as each franchise need to have one Icon and the Coorgi girl was the only Icon left for Pune.
"Since there are no women's doubles matches, the franchises requested the IBL governing council to reduce the base prices of the two. However, to ensure justice, IBL will give $19,000 to Jwala and $25,000 to Ashwini to complete their base prices," Badminton Association of India (BAI) vice-president T.P.S. Puri told IANS.
As predicted, there was a fight for buying Saina as her sponsors Sahara India Pariwar, who own the Lucknow franchise, and Pune Pistons were bidding for her.
Pune gave up the race at $110,000 and Lucknow at $115,000. The Indian ace had Sunday also said that she would be happy if she went to either Lucknow or Hyderabad.
Same was the case for Chong Wei, who was sought after by Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. Eventually it was a close fight between Delhi, coached by former Malaysian great Rashid Sidek who wanted his compatriot badly, and Mumbai who paid a huge amount to bag the two-time Olympic silver medallist.
Among the other big names, World No.4 Juliane Schenk of Germany bagged the third highest price at $90,000, up from $50,000, going to Pune.
Hong Kong's World No.6 Hun Yu went to Banga Beats ($50,000), Indonesian legend Taufik Hidayat went to Hyderabad Hotshots for a mere base price of $15,000, while Danish great Tine Baun went to Mumbai for $30,000.
Among the Indians, H.S. Prannoy ($16,000) and R.M.V. Gurusaidutt went to Delhi ($40,000), Thailand Open champion K. Srikanth fetched $34,000 from a base of $15,000 by Lucknow while Ajay Jayaram was bought for a base price $25,000 by Hyderabad.
However, the biggest disappointments were Thai players Boonsak Ponsana (men's World No.4) and India Open Super Series winner Ratchanok Intanon (women's World No.5), both of whom, at $50,000, went unsold.
The teams comprising four foreign and six Indians and selling rates:
Banga Beats: P. Kashyap $75,000, Hu Yun $50,000, Tai Tzu Ying $25,000, Carolina Marin $10,000, Carston Margensen $50,000, Akshay Dewalkar $ 36,000, Aparna Balan $12,000, Aditya Prakash $5,000, Arvind Bhat $7,500, J. Meghana $4,000.
Hyderabad Hotshots: Saina Nehwal $120,000, Taufik Hidayat $15,000, Ajay Jayaram $25,000, V. Shem Goh $10,000, Tarun Kona $28,000, Pradenya Gadre $46,000, Khim Wah Lim $10,000, Tanongsak $15,000, Kanthi Visalakshi P. $3,000, Shubhankar Dey $3,000.
Delhi Smashers: Jwala Gutta $31,000, Wong Wing Ki $20,000, H.S. Prannoy $16,000, Sai Praneeth $40,000, Arundhati Panthawane $15,000, Boon Hoeng tan $50,000, Kien Keat Koo $50,000, V. Diju $30,000, Nichaon Jindapon $15,000, Prajakta Sawant $7,000.
Mumbai Masters: Lee Chong Wei $135,000, Marc Zweibler $15,000, Tine Baun $30,000, Pranav Jerry Chopra $36,000, Manu Attri $10,000, Siki Reddy $11,000, P.C. Thulasi $10,000, Vladimir Ivanov $15,000, Rasika Raje $3,000, Sumeet Reddy $7,500.
Pune Pistons: Ashwini Ponappa $25,000, Nyugen Tien Minh $44,000, Saurabh Verma $20,000, Anup Sridhar $6,000, Juliane Schenk $90,000, Joachiam Fischer Nielsen $35,000, Sanave Thomas $5,000, Arun Vishnu $26,000, Wee Kiong Tan $15,000, Rupesh Kumar $5,000.
Lucknow Warriors: P.V. Sindhu $80,000, Weng Fei Chong $25,000, Guru Sai Dutt $40,000,K. Srikanth $34,000, Sapsiree $15,000, Ruthvika Shivani $3000, Marcis Kido $15,500, Maneepong Jongjit $10,000, K. Maneesha $26,000, Nanda Gopal $10,000.