Gold and glory came for seven non-cricket athletes who find a place on the 2019 Forbes India Celebrity 100 List. India’s big names including Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu, secured their places in a list which is topped by cricketer Virat Kohli.

The list is an indication that not just cricket but other sports, too, are gaining popularity in India. Olympic medallist Mary Kom makes a comeback, ranked 87 with an earning of 3.9 crore. She made a 36.8 percent jump from the 2016 figure of 2.85 crore. “I think there has been a definite shift in the visibility and viability of Indian athletes outside of cricket. You can’t compare it in terms of numbers and earnings, but they have managed to make their own space,” says Sharda Ugra, senior editor at ESPN India and ESPNCricinfo.

Even though World Champion PV Sindhu was in the world of highest paid woman athlete for the year, the badminton player had it tough after that with many back to back failures. Her earnings dropped from 36.5 crore in 2018 to 21.05 crore. This year, Sindhu regained the spot of being the highest-paid woman athlete in India but her ranking slipped from 20 to 63. But she remains the highest paid non-cricket sportsperson on the list.

Saina Nehwal earned three crore this year, a huge drop from 16.54 crore in 2018.

Key Takeaways:

  • As per Forbes, Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu have secured their places in a list of India Celebrity 100 which is topped by cricketer Virat Kohli
  • Olympic medallist Mary Kom makes a comeback in the 2019 list, ranked 87 with earnings of 3.9 crore. She made a 36.8 percent jump from the 2016 figure of 2.85 crore
  • Hyderabad-based shuttler PV Sindhu’s earnings dropped from 36.5 crore in 2018 to 21.05 crore. Her ranking slipped from 20 to 63. But she remains the highest paid non-cricket sportsperson on the list.
  • Saina Nehwal earned 3 crore this year, a huge drop from 16.54 crore in 2018

“There is a big gap that exists in Indian sports apart from cricket, which needs to be addressed with better governance and accountability,” says Ugra.

Sindhu was ranked at 15th place among India’s most valuable celebrity, according to Duff & Phelps, the global valuation and corporate finance advisors, in January this year. After the BWF World Championships this year, she started earning a massive Rs 1.5 crore in certain endorsement deals. Sports consultants says that her recent win is helping her getting a hike of 50-70% over and above her current endorsement fee which is only likely to go up gradually. “At the moment, Sindhu is the highest paid woman athlete in India and commands fees comparable to some leading cricketers,” Ramakrishnan R, co-founder and director of Baseline Ventures, Sindhu’s talent management firm, informed the Financial Express.

Sindhu scripted history by becoming the first Indian to win a World Championships gold medal. She defeated Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara 21-7, 21-7 in the finals of the tournament this year.

Also Read:The Gender Pay Gap In Sport: Why We Must Talk About It

After making her debut in 2009, last year, Sindhu successfully made it to the Forbes List Of 30 Under 30 Asia 2018. She is among a total of four Indians included in the list’s ‘Entertainment & Sports’ category. India’s ace badminton player is a role model to many and her words impact youngsters.

The Hyderabad-based badminton player is among India’s favourites for another Olympic medal in 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Feature Image Credit: The New Indian Express

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