Even as the organisers and the franchisees of the Indian Badminton League were visibly elated at the way the Indian Badminton League auction went off on Monday, G. Jwala and Ashwini Ponnappa were left to nurse their bruised pride.
The doubles specialists were treated as the lesser players among the six icons. On Sunday, their individual base-price was reduced from $50,000 to $25,000. Eventually, Jwala was bagged by Delhi Smashers for $31,000 and Ashwini went without a bid to Pune Pistons after five other icons were sold.
The franchisees along with the IBL Governing Council also decided to compensate the players for any shortfall should their individual bid end under $50,000.
Under the agreement, the IBL would foot 50 per cent of the shortfall and the balance was to be borne equally by the franchisees.
As a result, the players were assured of a minimum of $50,000 each.
But the manner in which the drama unfolded, left Jwala and Ashwini deeply hurt. “It is not about being compensated monetarily. It was important that I was treated with dignity and an equal. I am very hurt,” said a crestfallen Ashwini.
When asked about being part of the Pune franchise, the soft-spoken Ashwini said, “I neither kept track of the auction nor wanted to do anything with it after I was told about the change (base price) this morning.”
Jwala, as is her wont, did not mince words. “When I was told about the change (around noon) well after the auction started, I was shocked and hurt. I signed a contract for $50,000 as an icon player. All along we were told that icon players were equal.
“Just because women’s doubles is not in the format, how can our price be reduced? After all, like all singles players, we also play one match. Why treat us differently? It is not about money, it is about pride.”