Indian badminton star Jwala Gutta has expressed her disappointment at her base price being reduced by half in the Indian Badminton League auction that was conducted on Monday.
"As players we are hurt," Jwala told members of the press on Wednesday. Commonwealth Games women's doubles champions Jwala and Ashwini were two of the six icon players, who went under the hammer on Monday but just hours ahead of the player's auction, the IBL decided to reduce their base price from $50,000 (Rs 29,86,264) to $25,000 (14,93,125) after consultation with the six franchises.
Jwala and Ashwini were signed up for the IBL as icon players, but due to the absense of a doubles event, the duo were initially unsold at the auction.
"I am famous for being a doubles player. I am a doubles specialist so it was wrong to cut my base price. I wasn't informed that my price was going to be cut and came to know (about it) through the media," added Jwala.
"I feel bad, cheated and let down because I had signed a contract as an icon player with the IBL at a certain base price."
In the auction, Jwala went to Krrish Delhi Smashers at $31,000 (Rs 18,51,520), while Pune Pistons bagged Ashwini for the base price of $25,000.
"I have been promoting IBL throughout the country," added Jwala. "Some other top players in the world also went unsold. So that means those people who are advising the franchises.... My only way of answering is with the racquet."
However Jwala refused to play the blame game and said that despite controversy she was looking forward to playing for Delhi Smashers in the IBL.
"I am not a quitter. If I had to quit I would have done so a long time ago. It is clear that I am playing not for money; there are other sources to earn money, said Jwala. "I love the game and I enjoy playing it."
Jwala also had some positive things to say about the upcoming badminton league. "IBL is going to be very colourful. There will be some interesting match-ups. I'm looking forward to it."
"People love watching badminton and I'm only promoting badminton and other sports. If good things come up I'll be happy."
"There are excellent financial benefits playing the IBL," added Jwala. "Our parents have spent so much to help us have a career in this sport and it's great to reap the rewards."
"Badminton is my love. I don't play it for money or fame. I only hope that the sport benefits because of my presence," concluded Jwala.