Sindhu cashes in on complete package

Beauty, brains and brawn... and lots of money - Indian shuttler P.V. Sindhu (left) has it all.

One of India's most successful sports personalities, she features in Forbes' 2021 list of the world's highest-paid female athletes.

The 26-year-old, who also made the list in 2018 and 2019, is the only badminton player among the world's top-earning sportswomen.

In the latest list, the Indian is ranked No. 7, with total earnings of US$7.2 million ($9.7 million).

Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka is the top earner with US$57.3 million.

A modest Sindhu said her inclusion in the list continues to show that badminton is a rewarding career option.

"I'm happy about that. Featuring me is a feel-good thing. Placing me with the top female athletes is definitely a good sign for me, it will give me a lot of confidence," she told the Badminton World Federation website.

"Not only now, but especially after 2016, after Saina (Nehwal) and me, a lot of kids have been doing well (financially)."

Saina gave Indian women's badminton a huge boost when she became the first player to win an Olympic medal - a bronze at London 2012.

She later won a silver at the 2015 World Championships and became the world No. 1 in 2015.

But what Sindhu did after that was even more staggering.

She became the country's first world champion in 2019 after winning medals regularly in the world meet.

The Hyderabad-born player had earlier smashed her way to a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

She has continued to keep the Indian flag flying high with her consistent performances on the world stage.

Last year, she also won a bronze at the Tokyo Olympics, becoming the first Indian woman to win two Olympic medals.

"I've seen new players coming up, boys and girls, and parents are happy," Sindhu told the Badminton World Federation website.

"A lot of parents tell me they want to enrol their kids in badminton, so definitely it's a good game if you work hard and do well for yourself.

"You will get a lot of success."

Sindhu's earnings are predominantly off-court.

Her on-court earnings were only US$0.2 million, a figure significantly lower than what tennis stars on the list earned.

The rest ($7 million) is through endorsements.

The Forbes report noted that Sindhu is "hugely popular in India".

She has added four sponsors since winning bronze in Tokyo, including ed-tech giant Byju's and used-car platform Spinny, on top of partners like Li-Ning sportswear and India's Bank of Baroda.

Indo-Asian News Service

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