Radha Kapoor Khanna – the founder of the DoIT Sports Management, owners of the Pro Kabaddi Delhi franchisee, Hockey India League Mumbai team and Dabang Smashers in the Ultimate Table Tennis league – is Indian sports’ only other representation in the 22-strong list.
Forbes’ has stated that the India-specific list is not just based on the net worth of the ‘Tycoons’.
CLICK HERE for the full ‘Tycoons of Tomorrow’ list.
The 2016 Rio Olympic Games silver medallist Sindhu has been among the most consistent performing Indian athletes over the past two years. Last year Sindhu had won three titles in her six appearances in the finals of top events on the Badminton World Federation international events, which also included the prestigious year-ending Dubai World Super Series finals and the World Championships.
“Remember her lung ripping, breath-sapping encounter in the finals of the World Championships with Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara that lasted a mammoth 110 minutes and included a 73-stroke rally that could outlive posterity? Sindhu finished second, if you must care for statistics, but when she was done, the World No 3 touched a chord even with India’s sporting psyche that rarely cares for gallant losers,” the magazine has stated in the citation for the 23-year-old.
One year later, she carries on in a loop. A silver in the Commonwealth Games, followed by another in the World Championships and a silver medal at the Asian Games this year. And 2018 isn’t over yet. Fatigue-induced losses apart, like the second-round exit in this year’s Japan Open or the first round defeat in last year’s Denmark Open, Sindhu could very well be singing her own rendition of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury’s “Don’t stop me now… I am a shooting star leaping through the sky”.
Earlier, her exploits have earned Sindhu a place on Forbes’s list of the world’s top 10 highest-paid female athletes, the first Indian to make it to the list that is topped by Serena Williams. With $8.5 million, the lanky Hyderabadi stands at No 7, ahead of tennis stars Simona Halep, the current No 1, and triple Grand Slam winner Angelique Kerber.
If Sindhu needs an improvement, then it will be on her inability to convert the silvers into golds. But former All-England champion Prakash Padukone isn’t too worried. In one of his recent interviews to the media, Padukone said: “There is nothing like that [mental block]. We should not put too much pressure on her when she is doing well.”
Perhaps badminton is no longer a sport where one player can dominate like Susi Susanti did in the ’90s. Players like Carolina Marin, Okuhara, Akane Yamaguchi, Tai Tzu Ying are all nipping at each other’s heels. “You look at tennis. There’s little to separate the top three in terms of talent. Who could pick one amid [Roger] Federer, [Rafael] Nadal or [Novak] Djokovic? It’s the same in badminton too,” says sports writer Ayaz Memon. “It’s just a matter of how you cope with pressure on a particular day.”
For one, Sindhu has age on her side. That means several more World Championships and a couple more Olympics to take a shot at gold. But whatever she finishes with, Pusarla Venkata Sindhu will have redefined India’s sporting successes.
The magazine has stated that the ‘Tycoons of Tomorrow’ is not a ranking but a qualitative selection based on a long-list compiled by the Forbes India team, and suggestions made by a six-member jury.
“The list recognises the scions of family-managed businesses, first-generation entrepreneurs, and actors and sportspersons, who have displayed the dynamism to revitalise an existing enterprise, or have created something new, and, in the process, redefined the rules of business, industry or their craft,” the magazine said.