Indian Badminton League auction: Shuttle’s dollar rush

Saina,Chong Wei attract highest bids; Indian youngsters make a killing too.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: July 23, 2013 3:51 am

Established stars with marketable images made a killing at the inaugural Indian Badminton League auction with women’s World No.3 Saina Nehwal and Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei,the men’s World No.1,being sold for $120,000 and $135,000 respectively. Saina and Chong Wei were both ‘icon’ players whose base price was $50,000 as was Parupalli Kashyap and PV Sindhu.

The men’s World No.13 Kashyap was bought by the Bangalore franchise,Banga Beats,for $ 75,000 while Sindhu cost Lucknow Warriors $80,000. Four of the six ‘icon’ players justified their status,but a young Indian brigade too made a mark. Among those budding stars,doubles specialist Pradnya Gadre,21,was bought by Hyderabad Hotshots for four times her base price of $10,000. Mixed doubles player K Maneesha,18,was bought by Lucknow Warriors for $26,000 though bidding for her started at $4,000.

Gadre and Maneesha gained from their recent upswing in form as much as from the fact that teams had kept money in reserve to complete their mixed doubles pairing after picking the men partners who came up for auction earlier. Arun Vishnu,Tarun Kona and Pranav Jerry Chopra were the Indian men’s doubles players who made good money.

BIDDING WAR FOR GADRE

Gadre has teamed up with Ashwini Ponnappa in the women’s doubles recently but such was the nature of the auction that while her senior partner,an ‘icon’,player went at her base price of $25,000 to Pune Pistons,Gadre pocketed $ 46,000. Jwala Gutta,Ashwini’s former partner gained only $6000 over her base price of $25,000.

The Lucknow Warriors were also in the running to bag Gadre but had to settle for their back-up option Maneesha. Both Gadre and Maneesha are wards of the Pullela Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad.

The upcoming crop of India’s men singles players also bagged handsome amounts. K Srikanth,the 20-year-old from Guntur,had won the Thailand Open Grand Prix in June by beating Boonsak Ponsana,the world No.4. Srikanth who had a base price of $15,000 went for $34,000 to Lucknow Warriors. Incidentally,Ponsana went unsold as none of the teams were willing to spend upwards of $50,000,which was his base price.

Another youngster Sai Praneeth too reaped the rewards of his recent good form as the Delhi Smashers picked him up for $40,000,which was $25,000 more than his base price. Praneeth had beaten former World No.1 Taufik Hidayat and Hu Yun,the current World No.6 from Hong Kong earlier this year. RMV Gurusaidutt too had a good day when he was bought by Lucknow Warriors for $40,000.

Among the international players,Germany’s Juliane Schenk,30,attracted fierce bidding from Delhi Smashers and Pune Pistons before the latter bagged her for $90,000.

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