New Delhi: The grand success of Indian Badminton League's (IBL) inaugural players' auction has proved the growing popularity of the sport in India, said BAI president Akhilesh Das Gupta.
Das Gupta was delighted with the outcome of Monday's auction where six franchisees picked up 60 players.
"A generous amount has been spent on Indian players by the franchisees, which is a very positive sign for the Indian players and the sport as a whole. Other than auction money the players would also be getting endorsement deals," Das Gupta said.
While world number one Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia, who was bought by Mumbai Masters for USD 135,000, was the most sought-after player India's shuttle queen Saina Nehwal was not far behind as she commanded a price of USD 120,000 from Hyderabad HotShots.
"Today's auction reflected a healthy and exciting competitive streak among the franchisees and shed light on their game plan. The IBL auction has set the ball rolling for what promises to be an inimitable experience in sports entertainment," said Das Gupta, who is also the chairman of IBL Governing Council.
"BAI's support has ensured that the IBL takes off well. The players will benefit tremendously in terms of value," Das Gupta added.
Chief national coach, Pulella Gopichand, who present at the auction held at a city hotel here, appreciated the efforts of IBL organisers.
"The BAI president and IBL team has to be commended for bringing this wonderful event and hope the money which the players earned will only go to motivate them further in proving their performances," he said.
Among other notable Indian players, Asian junior champion P V Sindhu (USD 80,000) went to the Lucknow Warriors, London Olympic quarterfinalist P Kashyap (USD 75000) was picked by Banga Beat, the Bangalore Team and emerging stars like B Sai Praneeth and Guru Sai Dutt commanded a price of USD 40,000.