Brand Saina on the rise
Saina Nehwal's has been a fairytale story this year (2010) with the ace shuttler reaching new heights both professionally and personally.
After winning back to back international titles and zooming to a career high world ranking of World No 2, the crowning glory came when she answered the prayers of an entire nation to win the Gold medal in the Commonwealth Games.
Saina's soaring fortunes on the badminton court have now made her a much sought after star in the endorsement circles with her brand value reaching a crore.
The Commonwealth Games showing has surely catapulted the youngster in the league of India's top sport stars.
In July when she shot up to her career high ranking of World No 2, she was charging Rs.
30 lakhs per endorsement.
But in the space of 3 months, the Hyderabadi's brand value has gone several notches higher.
Telecom giant Airtel is the latest in a series of corporates that have signed on Saina as a brand ambassador.
Deccan Chargers Sporting Ventures handles Saina's account. Saina already endorses the Deccan Chronicle newspaper, Adani Wilmar's Fortune edible oil and Herbal life's nutritional product range.
According to industry analysts, Saina, who was charging around Rs. 50 lakh per
endorsement, is now able to command Rs. 1
crore per deal after her CWG win.
The higher rate is also supported by Saina's hat-trick of wins at the Indian Open, Singapore Open and the Indonesia Open Super Series in June this year.
Saina walked the ramp dressed as a bride a few months back. She had earlier said that she is open to endorsing Cola brands, something that her coach Gopichand turned down at the height of his career.
Bollywood too has been showing some interest but Saina has no intentions of making an appearance on the silver screen.
"I don't want to do any movies because that's totally another profession and I am from a sporting background. So I just want to play my game. Totally no."
Here's a look at her sporting conquests earlier in the year.
Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal created history by winning her third Super series title when she won the final of the Indonesian Open Super series tournament.
Saina Nehwal beat Sayaka Sato of Japan 21-19,13-21,21-11 to win her third straight international title in three weeks.
Saina's rise follows back-to-back title triumphs at the India Open Grand Prix and the Singapore Open Super Series respectively. By virtue of the consecutive titles earlier this month, Saina, with 64791.2637 points, made a significant upward movement in the chart and is just behind Chinese duo of Yihan Wang and Xin Wang.
Saina's previous best ranking was a fifth position which she attained in March this year after becoming the first Indian woman to reach the semifinals of the prestigious All England Super Series Championships. She had successfully lead the Indian Women Team to the Uber Cup finals, winning all her matches in March 2010.
However, she dropped to the sixth position in the subsequent weeks. Saina is presently playing in the Indonesia Open and is well on course for a hat-trick of titles after reaching the quarterfinals of the Super Series event.
She has come up the ranks and has won gold in the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games and World Junior Badminton Championships.
Saina Nehwal was bestowed with the Arjuna Award in 2009 for her superlative display in the sport of badminton and her continuous success resulted in the government honouring her with the Padma Shri in 2010.
Saina's performances on the big stage are commendable as she reached the quarters of the World Championships and the semis of the Super series finals.
She is the only Indian shuttler who has constantly troubled the Chinese and other South-East Asian badminton players.
In 2009, Saina Nehwal's victory in the Indonesian Open made her the first Indian shuttler to win a Badminton World Federation Super series title. She has followed that up with her victory at the Singapore Open.
After her consistent performance in the international circuit, Saina Nehwal has emerged as one of India's best bet for a gold medal in the 2012 London Olympic Games.