India’s Olympic badminton star became a sponsors’ dream on £126,000
It was no surprise when Serena Williams topped the Forbes list of highest-earning female athletes released earlier this week, but you may have not recognised the name of the woman in seventh place.
Pusarla Venkata Sindhu, more commonly known as PV Sindhu, is a 23-year-old badminton player from India and became only the second Indian competitor, male or female, to win an Olympic badminton medal with a silver at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Her on-court winnings last year totalled $500,000 (£387,000) but endorsements saw Sindhu bring in an extra $8m (£6.2m) in sponsorship in sports-mad India. That works out as a weekly income of $163,000 (£126,000).
That is more than earned by Simona Halep, the WTA world number one as of 22 August, and the top seed for the 2018 US Open.
Sindhu comes from a sporting background with both her parents playing volleyball at national level, but she took up badminton aged six when inspired by Pullela Gopichand, who won the men’s singles event at the All England Open Badminton Championships in 2001.
Her life and career changed during the women’s singles competition at the 2016 Olympics. She was only seeded ninth but gained wins over eighth seed Tai Tzu-ying of Chinese Taipei in the last 16, China’s second seed Wang Yihan in the quarter-finals and Japan’s sixth seed Nozomi Okuhara in the semi-finals before losing to Spain’s world number one Carolina Marin in the final.