India’s Saina Nehwal and Malaysian veteran Lee Chong Wei went for $1,00,000 each to Awadhe Warriors and Hyderabad Hunters, respectively, in the Premier Badminton League (PBL) players’ auction in New Delhi on Monday.
The third most expensive player was World championship double bronze medallist P.V. Sindhu, who was snapped up by Chennai Smashers for $95,000 -- $45,000 more than the talented Indian’s base price. Delhi Acers and Mumbai Rockets were in contention for her signature before Chennai took the 20-year-old.
World No.9 male shuttler Kidambi Srikanth also received a strong bidding and was sold for $80,000 to Bengaluru Top Guns. His compatriot, No.14 Parupalli Kashyap had to be content with a price of $35,000. The 2014 Commonwealth Games champion went to Hyderbad. While Srikanth had a base price of $50,000, Kashyap’s base price was $25,000.
Rising Indian shuttler H.S. Prannoy will ply his trade for Mumbai after the world No.20 was sold for $47,000, while No.23 Ajay Jayaram was taken by Delhi for $35,000.
With $1,00,000 being the maximum bid for a player, the bidding for Saina and Chong Wei saw several franchises offering the highest purse for them.
In the end, according to the PBL rules, a lottery was held and it was decided that Olympic bronze medal winner Saina will play for the Lucknow-based side while two-time Olympic silver medallist Chong Wei will turn out for Hyderabad.
Saina, earlier, played for Hyderabad in the now disbanded Indian Badminton League (IBL).
Badminton Association of India (BAI) president Akhilesh Das Gupta revealed that the auction for Olympic bronze medallist Saina and Chong Wei happened on Sunday and as many as five franchises wanted to buy the 25-year-old Indian. Das Gupta said all the franchises were consulted on the decision.
Saina will play the opening match of the tournament in Mumbai, the BAI president confirmed.
Meanwhile, former No.1 Chong Wei attracted bids for Hyderabad and Mumbai.
No auction took place for established doubles players Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa. Jwala and Ashwini were sold for $30,000 each to Hyderabad and Bengaluru, which also bagged B. Sumeeth Reddy for $25,000.
Denmark’s J. Fischer Nielsen ($30,000) and the Malaysian duo of Hoon Thein How ($15,000) and Khim Wah Lim ($15,000) had also similar fate and were picked by Bengaluru. Denmark’s Christina Pedersen went to Awadhe for $30,000.
The fate of England’s Adcock couple was also sealed on Sunday, with Christopher going for $30,000 and Gabrielle finding her team in Delhi with a similar price. Christopher may get a mixed doubles pair up with Sikki Reddy, who was sold for $30,000.
Denmark’s veteran men’s doubles players, Mathias Boe ($30,000) and Carsten Mogensen ($30,000) will play for Mumbai and Hyderbad respectively.
Among the overseas players, No.12 Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia was bought by Delhi for $74,000 - a jump of $24,000 from his base price.
Russian Vladmir Ivanov was bagged by Mumbai for $42,000, while Malaysian doubles specialist Koo Kiet Kan went to Delhi for $36,000.
Indonesian Markis Kido went to Hyderabad for the price of $35,000 and he will form a strong doubles and mixed doubles pairing with Mogensen and Jwala respectively.
Thailand’s singles specialist Tanongsak Saensomboosuk, with a base price of $15,000, saw an excessive bidding that ended with Awadhe’s price of $41,000.