The inaugural edition of the Pro Wrestling League (PWL) is almost upon us. The hysteria the inaugural season of a lucrative sporting tournament in India generates is crazy; the Indian Premier League (IPL), Indian Super League (ISL) and the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) are a testament to it.
Indian wrestling stars Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt remain the big names in the tournament, among many others, and their presence is expected to give the first season of PWL a much-needed impetus.
Sushil, 32, a two-time gold medallist in two Commonwealth games, has said that he will be donating his entire tournament's earnings for a noble cause. The former Olympic medallist was bought by Team Uttar Pradesh for Rs 38.20 lakh in the PWL auction earlier this month.
"I have never played for money so I don't know why someone has this view," Sushil told the Hindustan Times.
"I will donate the money I will get from the league to charity. By the grace of God I have everything, I don't need money," the Padma Shri award winner added.
It was reported earlier that Sushil was unhappy with the fact that Ukrainian women wrestler Oksana Herhel and Yogeshwar were bought for a higher price, but he cleared the air at once.
Yogeshwar, 33, meanwhile, is looking at the PWL to brush up his skills on the mat before he heads for the Asian Olympic qualification in Astana, Kazakhstan, next year. The 2012 Olympics Bronze medallist is hopeful that the Pro Wrestling League will manage to attract attention towards wrestling.
"There was not much money in the sport. It was only after our performances in the last two Olympics that grapplers began to earn well," Yogeshwar was quoted by The Times of India as saying.
"Wrestlers didn't use to get much attention unless it was Olympics or Asian Games but thanks to PWL that wrestlers will get a larger audience.
"This league started a bit late," he added. "If it had started 3-4 years back it would have been much better. It's going to benefit new kids."
The six teams -- Team Punjab, Team Haryana, Team Bengaluru, Team Uttar Pradesh, Team Mumbai, and Team Delhi -- will have nine players each (five men and four women); each team can have a maximum of five Indians and four foreigners.
A total of 18 matches, including 15 in the league phase, will be held during the 17-day tournament that starts from 10 December.