Grand Prix Badminton League: Top Karnataka shuttlers go under the hammer as 'icon players'

The auctions for the Grand Prix Badminton League (GPBL) saw eight of Karnataka’s established badminton players go under the hammer as ‘icon players’.

Icon players Mithun Manjunath, Raghu Mariswamy, Daniel Farid and Sai Pratheek after the auction of the GPBL.   -  Special Arrangement

The auctions for the Grand Prix Badminton League (GPBL) saw eight of Karnataka’s most established badminton players go under the hammer as ‘icon players’.

Three out of the eight players were picked at their maximum price of ₹3.5 lakh. The trio - Mithun Manjunath and Prakash Raj were picked by Malnad Falcons and KGF Wolves respectively, while Sai Prateek was picked by the Mandya Bulls through a draw of lots, after a four-way bidding tie between the teams.

Saneeth Dayanand (Kodagu Tigers, ₹2.6 lakh), Daniel Farid (Bandipur Tuskers, ₹3.1 lakh), Raghu Mariswamy (Mangaluru Sharks, ₹3.3 lakh), Tanya Hemanth (Mysore Panthers, ₹3.2 lakh), and Janani Ananthkumar (Bengaluru Lions, ₹2.5 lakh) were among the other icon players in the auction pool.

READ: Grand Prix Badminton League to commence from July 1; top stars to serve as mentors

The GPBL will be held from July 1 to 10, at the Karnataka Badminton Association here.

“We have a good team, and I am looking forward to the tournament. There is no pressure. I feel that I was signed for a good fee,” said Prateek.

A doubles player, Prateek is excited to work with team mentor and accomplished doubles specialist, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy. He also believes that this kind of league helps badminton players in terms of the money that they could earn, which could help them with tournament and equipment expenses. “I think leagues like these should be held more often,” Prateek added.

Singles shuttler Farid maintains that this league would help players financially as well as physically prepare for other tournaments.

“These players do not get enough exposure. Playing in a team is always more exciting and motivating than playing individually,” Farid said.

Farid is waiting for his team to come together, after which they could assess the combinations. He believes that preparations for the GPBL would be different from preparing for individual events.

Manjunath believes that this tournament could be a great opportunity for badminton players from Karnataka. “It will be different from individual tournaments. In the GPBL, the team would be supporting me, due to which there would be pressure,” he said.

Manjunath had recently won silver at the 2022 Orleans Masters, and is currently 76th in the BFW Men’s Singles World Rankings.

Mariswamy, another singles shuttler, is excited about the start of the tournament. “From this league, there will be a lot of people who will take badminton seriously and will see a career in this,” he said.

Mariswamy was part of the Jain University Badminton Men’s Team that won gold at the recently concluded Khelo India University Games in Bengaluru.

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