OLYMPIC MEDALLIST INDIAN GRAPPLERS Yogeshwar Dutt and Sushil Kumar were the highest grossers in the Pro Wrestling League auction, held in New Delhi on Tuesday.
The 2012 Olympics Bronze medallist Yogeshwar, attracting 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.
Yogeshwar and two-time Olympic medallist Sushil were clubbed in the 'Icon' category that consisted of six wrestlers. They had a base price of Rs.33 lakh.
The other wrestlers clubbed in the 'Icon' category were the home grown Narsingh Yadav, female wrestler Geeta Phogat, star female foreigners American Adeline Gray and Sweden's Sofia Mattsson.
Narsingh Yadav was bought by team Bengaluru for Rs.34.50 lakh. Phogat was snapped up by team Punjab at the base price for the 'Icon' category.
Gray's services was bought by team Mumbai for Rs.37 lakh while team Delhi acquired Mattsson for the base price.
Over 50 wrestlers went under the hammer. Six franchises participated in the auction with a purchase capacity of Rs.2 crore each.
The tournament, with a total prize money of Rs.3 crore, will be held from December 10-27 across the bases of the six franchises.
A total of 18 ties will be held during the tournament, 15 among them being league ties, followed by two semi-finals and a final. Each tie comprises of nine bouts and will be played in accordance with the Olympics wrestling rules.
The six teams will each have nine players (five men and four women). Each team can have a maximum of five Indians and four foreigners.
Kartikeya Sharma, CMD ProSportify & founder of PWL said,
“PWL is a major event towards the development of wrestling in India and we are thrilled to be organizing it. It is going to be a game changer in the non-cricket leagues. We had some of the best wrestlers in the world as part of our auction and we hope that each team emerge as a strong competitor to give an action packed event to the fans. It will be our endeavor to focus on the essence of the sport without any compromise and keep the culture and heritage of the sport alive. It is most definitely going to be the most watched sport other than cricket in India.”
The New Delhi franchise is owned by business group GMR , while the Bengaluru team belongs to the JSW group of companies.
The Punjab franchise is co-owned by veteran Bollywood actor Dharmendra and CDR group while the Uttar Pradesh team was snapped up by real estate company LotusGreens.
The Haryana team has been bought by technology company Olive Global. Maverick Industries and Mafatlal Industries own the Mumbai team.
Dr. Rashmi, Member Governing Council, PWL, (Wrestling Federation of India) said,
“Wrestling is a very Indian & a global sport. Hence, it has tremendous potential to reach to its mass audience and make an impact. Every wrestler is a star in its own and shall make India proud and PWL is going to offer them this platform. This is also a sport which gives men and women equal opportunity to showcase their talent.”
Shri. Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, President of PWL said,
“We see a great potential in the upcoming PWL league. PWL is going to bring the world’s biggest wrestlers both men & women & showcase their talent.”
The tournament will be conducted by ProSPortify in association with the Wrestling Federation of India.