Yogeshwar Dutt top Indian pick in Pro Wrestling League auction

Management of Pro Wrestling League is –

Mr Brijbhushan Sharan Singh, MP – President, Wrestling Federation of India

Mr GS Mander – Chairman, Pro Wrestling League Governing Council

Kartikeya Sharma – Managing Director of Pro-Sportify

Mr. Vishal Gurnani – Director, Pro Wrestling League

Sunil Yash Kalra – CEO, Pro Wrestling League

The wrestling fraternity joined the league bandwagon with over 50 Indian and international grapplers put up for auction for six franchises in the capital on Tuesday. London Olympics bronze medalist Yogeshwar Dutt emerged the highest-paid Indian while 2015 World Championship gold medalist Oksana Herhel of Ukraine was the top international draw in the auction for the Pro Wrestling League. Yogeshwar and Oksana were picked by Haryana for Rs 39.70 lakh and Rs 41.30 lakh, respectively.

Two-time Olympic medalist Sushil Kumar, who got the second highest bid after Yogeshwar, went to Uttar Pradesh for Rs 38.20 lakh. Belarus’ Vasilisa Marzaliuk (69kg), with base price of Rs 23 lakh, was a surprise pick by Punjab as she earned Rs 40.20 lakh.

Sushil Kumar, Yogeshwar Dutt, Narsingh Yadav, Geeta Phogat, Sofia Mattison and Adeline Gray were the icon players whose base price was Rs 33 lakh.

“I had not given the auction much thought but I am happy it went well. Wrestling league will change the way people look at the sport and bring more popularity .Youngsters will benefit and new champions will emerge,” Yogeshwar told TOI on Tuesday.

“After Beijing and London Olympics, a lot of young kids have taken to wrestling. But many still think wrestling is a village sport and I am sure this (league) will change that mindset. Wrestlers who come from weak financial backgrounds will be able to use this money for better training and diet,” he added. When asked about getting a winning bid more than Sushil Kumar, Yogeshwar said, “May be they liked me. I always wanted to go to Haryana.”

A total of 54 wrestlers were purchased by six franchises, with price purse of Rs 2 crore each, including Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Uttar Pradesh. Each team consists of nine players including five Indians and four international players. Haryana were the biggest spenders with Rs 1.96 crore, followed by Punjab who spent Rs 1.85 crore.

In the tournament, to be held from December 10-27, each team will be allowed to field five Indians and four international players, including five men and four women.

World Championship bronze medalist Narsingh Yadav, who went to Bengaluru, earned the third highest bid for an Indian at Rs 34.50 lakh while Geeta Phogat was picked by Punjab for Rs 33 lakh. Her sister Babita, with base price of Rs 23 lakh, and Vinesh, with base price of Rs 20 lakh, were picked by UP and Delhi for Rs 34.10 lakh and Rs 29.70 lakh, respectively . Geetika Jakhar (69kg) went home at her base price of Rs 10 lakh.

World Championship bronze medalist Bajrang, whose base price was Rs 23 lakh, was purchased by Bengaluru for Rs 29.50 lakh.

“The league will help us prepare better for Olympic qualification. By competing against and watching experienced wrestlers, we will have a better understanding of attack and defence, and it will help us improve our technique,” said Bajrang.

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