The Most Marketable Athlete You’ve Never Heard Of
PV Sindhu, a badminton world champion, is India’s most marketable female athlete. With her total earnings at 5.5 million dollars, Sindhu stands at 13th place for the highest-paid female athlete in the world according to Forbes. She’s also the top-grossing non-cricket athlete from the country; cricket being by far India’s most popular sport.
In the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, she became the first Indian badminton player to reach a final, making her a household name. In 2019, Sindhu became the first Indian to win gold at the Badminton World Championships, defeating rival Nozomi Okuhara of Japan.
Following the Olympics in 2016, Sindhu was recognized as the youngest and first female athlete from India to earn a silver medal in the Olympics. She was awarded The Padma Shri Award, which is India’s 4th highest civilian honor.
When asked if she had any other dreams besides being a badminton player, Sindhu said, “I’ve never thought a second thought. I started playing around the age of 8, 8 1/2. I started for fun and then I just continued…It was always badminton in my mind.”
Along with her impressive badminton skills, she is capitalizing off the court – partnering with and endorsing many major brands like Gatorade, Panasonic, Bridgestone, PNB MetLife, Samsung, and more.
Sindhu is an activist for women in sports, and she also stands up for her country, her culture, and being inclusive of all people. Sindhu is hopeful that her success in badminton will bring more recognition to The Sports Authority of India and Badminton Association of India.
“This INCLUSION BAND stands for a tomorrow that is all-inclusive, one where respect, dignity, diversity, inclusion, and acceptance co-exist. Let’s build a movement together!” She stated on her Instagram, @pvsindhu1.
India’s ace badminton player is a role model to many and her words have a strong influence on young girls and women alike. An effigy of her holding a badminton racket was built in the village of Kerala at a 1700-year-old temple. The effigy is a symbolic representation of women’s empowerment and her epic victory in the recent world championship.