In a top-ten list (Forbes list of highest-earning female athletes) mastered by Tennis aces, a certain PV Sindhu (with an annual earnings of $8.5 million) rocked the spectators by emerging seventh on the directory; even ahead of the current World Number 1, Simona Halep. Seeing Serena Williams topping the chart was absolutely no-brainer really, given the extraordinary stature she carries along with the name. But having Sindhu’s name in the list made almost everyone wonder; HOW?
Sindhu has become a household sensation since her 2016 Rio Olympics triumph. Not only did she become the only second Indian to bring home an Olympic (badminton) medal, a silver achieved in the global competition was India’s highest ever finish. Following her supremacy, she received a cash prize worth Rs 13 crore from different states of India, which is way-way more than what the Gold medalist Carolina Marin (Rs 70 Lakhs) got from the Spanish administration.
Adding to her kitty was a brand new BMW from the Hyderabad Badminton Association, followed by a land from the Andhra Pradesh government. Below is the list of rewards she was awarded after her 2016 Rio Olympics triumph:
- Rs.5 crore (US$730,000), and a land grant from the Government of Telangana.
- Rs.3 crore (US$440,000), a Group A cadre job (Deputy Collector of Andhra Pradesh) and 1000 yd2 land grant from the Government of Andhra Pradesh.
- Rs.2 crore (US$290,000) from the Government of Delhi.
- Rs.75 lakh (US$110,000) from her employer, Bharat Petroleum Corporation, with promotion from assistant to deputy sports manager.
- Rs.50 lakh (US$73,000) from the Government of Haryana.
- Rs.50 lakh (US$73,000) from the Government of Madhya Pradesh.
- Rs.50 lakh (US$73,000) from the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
- Rs.50 lakh (US$73,000) from Badminton Association of India.
- Rs.50 lakh (US$73,000) from NRI businessman, Mukkattu Sebastian.
- Rs.30 lakh (US$44,000) from the Indian Olympic Association.
- Rs.5 lakh (US$7,300) from All India Football Federation.
- BMW car from the Hyderabad District Badminton Association, which was presented by Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar.
- Rs.1.01 lakh (US$1,500) from Salman Khan, for qualifying as an Olympic participant.
- Miniature badminton racquet memento with gold and diamond from Kirtilals.
Sindhu might very well has reached the summit by 2016, but the road was never an easy one. “Before the Olympics, when we reached out to sponsors, often we were asked ‘Sindhu who?'” Tuhin Mishra – group managing director of Baseline Ventures – had said in 2017. Baseline Venture stocks Sindhu’s commercial front. They are also responsible for her image rights, brand management and licensing.
Her Olympic triumph though wasn’t limited to the aforementioned cash awards, with reports emerging as many as 16 companies battled of her signature over endorsing their products. But being Pullela’s tutee, she was so particular about her endorsements. She would only endorse the brands, which have a positive influence on youth.
As of now, the brands Sindhu is associated – as per BBC – with are Bridgestone Tyres, sports drink Gatorade, pain reliever ointment Moov, online fashion store Myntra, Nokia, Panasonic, honey producer APIS Himalaya, herbal health drink firm Ojasvita and the Bank of Baroda. She also works as the Deputy Collector for Andhra Pradesh government.
Becoming a global name though didn’t hinder her on-court performance. Following two back-to-back silver medals in 2017 and 2018 World Championships, Sindhu was named India’s flag bearer at the 2018 Commonwealth Games; an excellent accolade to say the least. There she helped India in winning gold in mixed team followed by a silver in individual event.
Sindhu now eyes the ultimate prize at the ongoing Asian Games, where India are yet to win a gold in individual event. Till date, Syed Modi’s bronze (in 1982) remains India’s first and only individual glory in the history of Asian Games.