History gets written at the first auction for the Pro Kabaddi League
20 May 2014, Mumbai: In a historical day for Indian sport, 8 pioneers scripted a new chapter in the future of kabaddi. Bidding took place for the world’s finest Kabaddi talent, under the hammer of the traveling gavel, Bob Hayton, at the first ever Pro Kabaddi auction.
With 8 franchises pitting their tactics and strategies in a tightly contested battle for the best, the Bengaluru Bulls drew first blood, winning the bid for star raider, Asian Indoor Games 2013 Gold Medalist, Ajay Thakur for INR 12,20,000. Drawing inspiration from the Bulls, Patna went all out and brought home World Cup Gold Medalist from 2007, Rakesh Kumar, with a whopping INR. 12,80,000, recording the highest bid of the day. Joining the bidding brigade was Delhi, who won the bid for 2010 Asian Beach Games Gold Medalist, Surjeet Narwal at INR.12, 20,000.
Having picked their marquee players from Category A, team owners did not hold back in their raid for category B players, with The Telugu Titans setting the tone for the afternoon with an astounding winning bid for young blood from Jharkand, Deepak Niwas at INR. 12,60,000, capitalizing 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, were fearless when they bid and won the strong defense of Manoj Kumar at INR.9, 10,000.
Commenting on his extreme fortune at taking home the highest pay, Rakesh Kumar was overjoyed when contacted “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. While being delighted to receive a phone call from Mr. Chaturvedi letting me know of my good fortune, I also look forward to the quality of play that I shall be exposed to.”
Adding his thoughts on the auction, President International Kabaddi Federation, 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.”
On the background of this revolution in 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.”
About the Pro-Kabaddi League
A first significant initiative of Mashal Sports, driven by Anand Mahindra (Mahindra & Mahindra), Piyush Pandey (Ogilvy & Mather), Rajiv Luthra (Luthra & Luthra Law Offices) and Charu Sharma (Managing Director), is a revolutionary Pro Kabaddi league with franchises across eight Indian cities. Our key partners include STAR Sports (Broadcaster), Ogilvy & Mather, World Sport Group, and the International Kabaddi Federation (IKF), Asian Kabaddi Federation (AKF) & Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI).
Pro Kabaddi takes our truly indigenous sport of Kabaddi to levels of new professionalism, which will benefit all stakeholders involved in the ecosystem of the game, Kabaddi, most of all, the players themselves, who will become the new role models for the youth of India.
This bold step will highlight the new, modern, international and competitive face of Kabaddi throughout the length and breadth of the country, and beyond.
This unique effort has the formal backing by the International Kabaddi Federation (IKF), the Asian Kabaddi Federation (AKF) & the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI), who will be closely associated with the organization and delivery of this event.