Bajrang Punia, Ritu Phogat top Indian buys at Pro Wrestling League auction

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Bajrang Punia became the most expensive Indian player at the Premier Wrestling League auction after the Delhi franchise made a successful bid of Rs. 38 lakh in New Delhi on Friday.

Yogeshwar Dutt chose to opt out of the season.

Among the international players, Olympic gold-medallist Vladimer Khinchegashvili of Georgia emerged as the highest paid player with a bid of Rs. 48 lakh from Team Punjab. Ukraine's Mariya Stadnik became the most expensive women's wrestler, receiving a bid of Rs. 47 lakh by Delhi.

Olympic bronze-medallist Sakshi Malik received a bid of Rs. 30 lakh by Delhi, while Ritu Phogat was India's most expensive woman wrestler, getting a bid of Rs. 36 lakh by Jaipur.

Other top buys of the auction included Magomed Kurbanaliev from Russia, who received a bid of Rs. 47 lakh, and three-time world champion Sofia Mattsson of Sweden, who Rs. 41.50 lakh -- both of whom were bought by Haryana. Mumbai bought Erica Wiebe and Georgian Jabrayil Hasanov for Rs. 43 lakh each, while the Nigeria's Odunayo Adekuoroye went to Punjab for Rs. 32 lakh.

Over 200 wrestlers were auctioned among six franchises -- Mumbai, Delhi, Punjab, Jaipur, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. As per the rules, all teams operated with a Rs. 2 crore cap to form a nine-member squad including five men and four women -- comprising five Indian and four international wrestlers.

This will be the second season of the Premier Wrestling League. The tournament will be held from January 2-19 next year.