Much before the Pro Wrestling League auction unfurled on Sunday, there was little doubt that Sushil Kumar could become the highest paid wrestler in the league. Buoyed by the veteran’s triumphant return to the mat last month, and the overwhelming appeal he commands, the buzz around him was expected.
The bidding war became heated when Delhi Sultan and Veer Maratha haggled intensely to procure him. The former prevailed with a bid of Rs 55 lakh, more than twice his base price, which made him not just the most expensive wrestler in this auction, but in the history of the league as well.
Ironically, this was the same tournament from where Sushil’s career hit a roadblock two years ago. In the inaugural auction, he was bought for Rs 38 lakh — not the price he expected — while Yogeshwar Dutt and three women wrestlers commanded a higher price. Reportedly, a miffed Sushil pulled out a day before the league’s launch. But all the rancour seems settled, as no other wrestler, Indian or foreign, has ever crossed Rs 50 lakh. Vladimir Khinchegashvili was the most expensive wrestler (Rs 48 lakh last year), who ironically went unsold this time round.