Pusarla Venkata Sindhu (born 5 July 1995) is an Indian professional badminton player. Over the course of her career, Sindhu has won medals at multiple tournaments including Olympics and on the BWF (Badminton World Federation) circuit including a gold at the 2019 World Championships. She is the first Indian to become the Badminton World Champion and only the second individual athlete from India to win two consecutive medals at the Olympic Games. She rose to a career-high world ranking of no. 2 in April 2017.
Sindhu broke into the top 20 of the BWF World Ranking in September 2012, at the age of 17. Beginning in 2013, she won a medal at every world championships, with the exception of 2015. She is just the second woman after Zhang Ning to win five or more medals at the world championships. She represented India at the 2016 Summer Olympics (Rio), becoming the first Indian badminton player to reach a final. She won the silver medal after losing out to Spain’s Carolina Marin. She made her second consecutive Olympic appearance at the 2020 Summer Olympics (Tokyo) and won a bronze medal, becoming the first Indian woman ever to win two Olympic medals.
Sindhu won her first superseries title at the 2016 China Open and followed it up with four more finals in 2017, winning the titles in South Korea and India. In addition to that, she has won a silver medal each at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and 2018 Asian Games, and two bronze medals at the Uber Cup.
The badminton star became the first Indian woman to win two Olympics medals, with her latest effort being a follow-up to the silver at the previous Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. In the third-place play-off, the 26-year-old defeated he Bingjiao of China 21-13, 21-15.
It was a clash that the Hyderbadi pocketed with ease. Sindhu set the tempo, dictated the angles and toyed with her rival. And during those brief moments when she seemed over-eager, her coach Park Tae-Sang hinted to her that she should calm down.
Having lost to Tai Tzu-Ying of Chinese Taipei in the semifinal, Sindhu was even more driven to seize the one medal at stake. And it showed as she crafted the contest’s template, a trait that she maintained right through her Olympics’ campaign except in the semifinals against a splendid Tzu-Ying.
With earnings of US$8.5 million and $5.5 million respectively, Sindhu made the Forbes‘ list of Highest-Paid Female Athletes in 2018 and 2019.
Pusarla Venkata Sindhu was born and brought up in Hyderabad, India toP. V. Ramana and P. Vijaya. Ramana, an employee of the Indian Railways, was born in Nirmal, Telangana while Vijaya hails from Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. Both her parents have been national level volleyball players. Her father, Ramana, who was a member of the Indian volleyball team that won the bronze medal in 1986 Seoul Asian Games, received the Arjuna Award in 2000 for his contribution to the sport.
Sindhu lives in Hyderabad, Telangana. She was educated at Auxilium High School, Hyderabad and at St. Ann’s College for Women, Hyderabad. Though her parents played professional volleyball, she chose badminton over it because she drew inspiration from the success of Pullela Gopichand, the 2001 All England Open Badminton Champion. She eventually started playing badminton from the age of eight. She first learned the basics of the sport with the guidance of Mehboob Ali at the badminton courts of Indian Railway Institute of Signal Engineering and Telecommunications in Secunderabad. Soon after, she joined Pullela Gopichand’s Gopichand Badminton Academy. While profiling her career, a correspondent with The Hindu wrote:
“The fact that she reports on time at the coaching camps daily, traveling a distance of 56 km from her residence, is perhaps a reflection of her willingness to complete her desire to be a good badminton player with the required hard work and commitment.
Gopichand seconded this correspondent’s opinion when he said that “the most striking feature in Sindhu’s game is her attitude and the never-say-die spirit.”After joining Gopichand’s badminton academy, Sindhu won several titles. In the under-10 years category, she won the 5th Servo All India ranking championship in the doubles category and the singles title at the Ambuja Cement All India ranking. In the under-13 years category, she won the singles title at the Sub-juniors in Pondicherry, doubles titles at the Krishna Khaitan All India Tournament IOC All India Ranking, the Sub-Junior Nationals and the All India Ranking in Pune. She also won the under-14 team gold medal at the 51st National State Games in India. She later parted company with Gopichand and chose South Korean coach Park Tae-sang.
An Economic Times report published in March 2017, noted that she is second only to Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli when it comes to earnings from each day of brand endorsements. Sindhu charges brands anywhere between ₹10 million (US$130,000) and ₹12.5 million (US$170,000) for a single day of endorsement related activities.
She has endorsement deals with JBL, Bridgestone Tyres, sports drink Gatorade, pain reliever ointment Moov, online fashion store Myntra, e-commerce portal Flipkart, phone maker Nokia and electronics major Panasonic. She also endorses Stayfree, health drink Boost, honey producer APIS Himalaya, herbal health drink firm Ojasvita and the Bank of Baroda. She is also a brand ambassador for both the Central Reserve Police Force and Vizag Steel.
In February 2019, it was announced that Sindhu had signed a four-year sports sponsorship deal for ₹500 million (US$6.6 million) with Chinese sports brand Li Ning. Her deal is one of the biggest in world badminton. She reportedly will get ₹400 million (US$5.3 million) as sponsorship while the rest of the money will be for equipment. This was Li-Ning’s second stint with Sindhu, who was with them for two years in 2014-2015 for a sum of ₹12.5 million (US$170,000) a year. In 2016, she was back with Yonex for a ₹35 million (US$460,000) per year contract for a period of three years.
- Honoured with Padma Bhushan Award, the third-highest civilian award in India, in January 2020.
- Honoured with Padma Shri Award, the fourth highest civilian award in India, in March 2015. Received Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award, the highest sporting honour of India, on 29 August 2016
- Bestowed with Arjuna Award for badminton on 24 September 2013