BENGALURU: As many as three out of eight icon players – Mithun Manjunath, Prakash Raj and Sai Prateek fetched their maximum cap price of Rs 3.5 lakh apiece in the Grand Prix Badminton League (GPBL) auctions on Sunday.
The inaugural edition of the tournament will be held from July 1 to 10 at the Karnataka Badminton Association.
Mithun was picked up by Malnad Falcons, while Sai Pratheek was purchased by Mandya Bulls in a draw of lots after four teams bid for the player and Prakash was bought by KGF Wolves at the top price.
The other icon players who went under the hammer were Saneeth Dayanand (Kodagu Tigers – Rs 2.6 lakh), Daniel Farid (Bandipur Tuskers – Rs 3.1 lakh), Raghu Mariswamy (Mangaluru Sharks – Rs 3.3 Lakhs), Tanya Hemanth (Mysore Panthers – Rs 3.2 lakh) and Janani Ananthkumar (Bengaluru Lions – Rs 2.5 lakh).
Each team comprised of eight players which included one icon player, a minimum of two Tier-1 and Tier-2 players respectively and a minimum of two female players including the 'icon' category.
The player purse per team was Rs 12 lakh out of which Rs 2 lakh was reserved for player awards. The base fee for 'icon' players was set at Rs 2.5 lakh and was capped at Rs 3.5 lakh.
The minimum salary for Tier-1 players was fixed at Rs 75,000 while capping it at Rs 2 lakh while Tier-3 players' minimum salary was Rs 25,000 and a maximum of Rs 50,000.
In the auction where 238 players had registered, 64 players were bought. 14-year-old Rujula Ramu (Tier-1) was picked by Kodagu Tigers for Rs 1.8 lakh, while 13-year-old Jade Anil was the youngest player to be picked by Bandipur Tuskers for Rs 30,000.
The teams will be mentored by their respective superstars. Malnad Falcons will be mentored by Chirag Shetty, while Bandipur Tuskers will have the expertise of Jwala Gutta, who is also the co-owner of the team.
Mysore Panthers will be guided by Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, while Kodava Tigers will be guided by Ashwini Ponnappa. The Mandya Bulls will have the support of Sai Praneeth and KGF Wolves will be mentored by HS Prannoy.
The Mangalore Sharks will have Srikanth Kidambi as their ambassador while the Bengaluru Lions will be tutored by P V Sindhu. The teams are divided into two groups.
The top four overall teams will play the second stage which will be played on round robin basis.
The top two will clash for the title.
Group A: Bandipur Tuskers, Mandya Bulls, Kodagu Tigers, Mangalore Sharks
Group B: Mysore Panthers, Bengaluru Lions, KGF Wolves, Malnad Falcons.