The Indian contingent, who made rapid strides in the past year, earned deals in the Pro Wrestling League season four draft on Friday. Commonwealth and Asian Games champions Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat were snapped up by Punjab Royals and Mumbai Maharathi respectively.
Vinesh, fresh from clinching gold in the Nationals last month, was bought for Rs 25 lakh by Mumbai. Olympic bronze medallist Sakshi Malik will be at Delhi Sultans. Pooja Dhanda, who announced herself on the big stage last year with a bronze medal at the world championships last year, was picked by MP Yodha.
The MP side also bagged another big Indian name in Ritu Phogat. She will also be joined by another rising star, Sandeep Tomar, who competes in the 55kg category.
The Delhi franchise also bagged Pinki Jhangra, Praveen and Sumit Malik. The Punjab outfit also bagged some exciting next-gen talent in U-23 silver medallist Ravi Dahiya, Anju and Amit Dhankar. Sachin Rathi and Deepak Punia went to Mumbai.
Among foreign wrestlers, Russia’s Khetik Tsabolov and Azerbaijan’s Haji Aliyev were the biggest bids bought by Delhi and MP. In the women’s category, 53kg 2017 world champion Vanesa Kaladzinskaya of Belarus was the biggest buy.
Few second string wrestlers including Epp Mae and Zsaneet Nemeth were also bought by UP and Mumbai respectively. In the 76kg category, there were as many as five international wrestlers but just one Indian in Kiran, who went to Haryana Hammers.