MUMBAI: In a major boost for Kabaddi players, eight franchises scripted a new chapter in the revival tale of Kabaddi in India. Bidding for the Kabaddi talent took place under the hammer of the traveling gavel, Bob Hayton, at the first ever Pro Kabaddi auction.
In what was seen as a tightly contested battle, eight franchises pitting their tactics and strategies, the Bengaluru Bulls, drew first blood winning the bid for star player, Ajay Thakur for Rs 12,20,000 who was Asian Indoor Games 2013 gold medalist. Similarly, Patna went all out and brought home World Cup gold medalist from 2007, Rakesh Kumar, for a whopping Rs 12,80,000, which recorded the highest bid of the day. Joining the bidding league was Delhi, who won the bid for Surjeet Narwal-2010 Asian Beach Games gold medalist for Rs 12, 20,000.
Having picked their key players from category A, team owners set out to select players from category B with The Telugu Titans setting the wining tone bid and getting on board Deepak Niwas from Jharkhand for at Rs 12,60,000, capitalising on the depth of young talent in category B.
The Puneri Paltans, who closed their bids in category A as one of the lowest spenders, went all out when they bid and won the strong defense of Manoj Kumar for Rs 9, 10,000.
Commenting on his big fortune for taking home the highest pay, Rakesh Kumar said, “This was a wonderful initiative by the federation for the benefit of all players and the sport across the globe. This is a real game-changer in the field of professional Kabaddi and is a huge step in building an infrastructure that will allow people to make a living through a sport they all love. I look forward to the quality of play that I shall be exposed to.”
International Kabaddi Federation president Janardan Singh Ghelot said, “I am happy to be witness to this day. This is a huge boost of confidence for the Kabaddi fraternity across the globe. The financial backing that the league promises is a great sign to come. We are inching closer to our mission of making Kabaddi an Olympic sport.”
“Today is a landmark day, a phenomenal start, for what should be a memorable three months to follow. Every franchise has contributed immensely towards the development of sport by injecting a massive dose of belief, commitment and respect that the sport has always deserved. We at Mashal may have started the crusade but are delighted to now be joined by a very impressive list of reputed organizations,” he added.
Speaking on the revolution of the sport, Arjuna Awardee Raju Bhavsar commented, “It is heartwarming to see how far this sport has progressed, the difference almost night and day! I never thought that in my lifetime I would be witness to a moment where a Professional Kabaddi player would be valued at such high numbers – truly worth his while. This day will go down in the history books in gold – this is the new dawn for Kabaddi.”