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DANGAL DHAMAKA: Rs. 7-million bonanza for Phogat sisters in PWL auction

IN A CLOSED BID PROCESS, the six franchises for the Pro Wrestling League Season 2, picked their wrestlers to complete their teams for the 2017 competition. The closed bid was held here with world-renowned auctioneer Bob Hayton leading the proceedings. Despite demonetization, the franchise owners of PWL splurged their wallets to own the desired wrestlers. 

With an eye on solidity and consistency over flashier purchases, the six franchises: Mumbai, Delhi, Punjab, Jaipur, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, bid cautiously and sensibly to ensure they had competitive squads going into the second season.

According to the rules all teams operated with a Rs. 2 crores cap on the purse to form a 9-member squad that should have five men and four women, five Indian and four international wrestlers.

Rio Olympics gold medalist Vladimer Khinchegashvili, bought by Punjab franchise, was the top-buy at a price tag of Rs. 48 lakhs. The Georgian grappler bettered his 2012 Olympics silver medal at Rio in the 55-60 kg category. Delhi franchise splurged Rs. 47 lakhs for Mariya Stadnik making her the most expensive women wrestler at the auction today. The 48 kg wrestler won the silver in 2016 and 2012 Olympics with a bronze in 2008 edition.

Bajrang Punia was the most expensive Indian wrestler signed up by Delhi for Rs. 38 Lakhs. Joining him in Delhi is Sakshi Malik, the Indian grappler, who won bronze at Rio Olympics, fetched Rs. 30 lakhs. But Ritu Phogat, 2016 Commonwealth Championship gold medalist became the most expensive Indian women wrestler at Rs. 36 lakhs after being signed by new entrants Jaipur.

Joining Sakshi in Delhi will be her fiancé Satyavart Kadian (97 kg). While the Phogat sisters Babita and Geeta will represent the Uttar Pradesh franchise. 

Among other top buys, 2016 world champion Magomed Kurbanaliev from Russia was bought by Haryana franchise, to become the second most expensive men’s wrestler at Rs. 47 lakhs. Mumbai snapped 2016 gold medalist (75 kg) Erica Wiebe for Rs. 43 lakhs making her the second most expensive women wrestler followed by three-time world champion Sofia Mattsson from Sweden who was signed by Haryana at Rs. 41.50 lakhs.

Other notable buys included Nigerian woman wrestler Odunayo Adekuoroye who was bought by Punjab for Rs. 32 lakhs. Mumbai also splurged Rs. 43 lakhs to rope in Jabrayil Hasanov in men’s 74 kg category. The Georgian had won bronze at 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Wrestling Federation of India president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh was impressed with the way teams went about buying wrestlers. “Season two auctions have been really balanced and the team owners bid very strategically. It’s exciting to see how juniors emerged as dark horses. I am confident of an action packed season 2 seeing the energy and enthusiasm that the team owners have shown.”

Bollywood legend and co-owner of Punjab team Dharmendra ji was happy with the team’s balance.

“We are happy with the kind of wrestlers we got in our kitty. Vladimer continues to be with us from season one and we are happy we could retain him even at a higher price. In totality I feel we have a great team and hopefully we will become Champions this season.”

Sunny Katyal from Investors Clinic, the owners of Uttar Pradesh team said,

“Its an amazing feeling to be part of PWL. We followed the league in the first season and were quite convinced of coming forward this season. I believe we have bought some of the best in business today like Babita and Geeta. We can't wait or the action to begin.”

Goldie Behl, Co-Owner Haryana team said,

“We have been part of the first season so I believe we had a more strategic approach rather than playing in the dark this time. The class and spread of the players was also much more so we have more options to choose from.”

Highlights of the auction

  • Vladimer khinchegashvili secured by team Punjab for 48 lacs
  • 22 year old Bajrang Punia signed by Delhi for whopping 38,00,000
  • 2012 Olympic Gold medalist Togrul Asgarov from Azerbaijan 35,00,000 to Punjab 
  • Majored Kurbanaliev Russia sold to Haryana for 47 lacs
  • 2016 Olympics Bronze medalist Jabrayil Hasanov from Georgia in 74 kg category 43 lacs to Mumbai 
  • Amit Dhankar UP team for 32 lacs
  • Elizbar Odikadze from Georgia 25.50 to Jaipur
  • Satyavart Kadian 97 kg Sr Nationals Gold medalist to 18 lacs to Delhi 
  • Cuban grappler Livan Lopez Azcuy 18 lacs to UP.
  • Mausum Khatri 97 kg 15.75 UP
  • Amit Dahiya to UP for 14 lacs
  • Rajneesh to Haryana 9 lacs
  • Gold medalist in Sr Nationals 2016  Jitendra at 11.50 lacs to Punjab
  • Parveen Rana Delhi  for 9 lacs
  • Pankaj Rana to Punjab for 4 lacs
  • Krishan Kumar 2016 Commonwealth Silver medalist sold to Punjab for 8 lacs
  • Reiners Salas (Cuba) to Mumbai for 15 lacs
  • Sumit Sehrawat 4 lacs to HaryanaElite Yankova from Bulgaria (48 kg) 2016 Olympic bronze medalist 31.50 to UP
  • Ritu Phogat Commonwealth Championship 2016 Gold medalist goes to Jaipur for 36 lacs
  • Three time Olympic medalist Mariya Stadnik  goes to Delhi for 47 lacs
  • Babita Kumari 16 lacs to UP
  • 2016 Golden Grand Prix Gold medalist Nigerian wrestler Odunayo Adekuoroye went to Punjab 32 lacs 
  • Three time World Champion Sofia Mattsson from Sweden goes to Haryana at 41.50 lacs
  • Sakshi Malik 30 LACS TO DELHI 
  • Three time Sr. National Champion Sarita (58 kg) 10.75 to Mumbai 
  • Geeta Phogat goes to UP in 16 lacs
  • Marwa Amri goes to Haryana for 25 lacs
  • Maria Mamashuk goes to UP for 29 lacs
  • Rio Gold medalist Erica Wiebe goes to Mumbai for 43 lacs
  • Vasilisa Marzaliuk who was the sold the second highest to Punjab last season went to Punjab for 20 lacs
  • Kiran Bronze medalist in Sr National 2016 (75 kg category) went to Haryana for 7 lacs
  • Sangeeta Phogat goes to Delhi for 5 lacs
  • 2016 Commonwealth Championship Gold medalist Manju Kumari (58 kg) goes to Punjab for 20.50 lacs
  • Pooja Dhanda sold to Jaipur for 7 lacs
  • Lalita Sherawat sold to Mumbai for 13 lacs


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