Over the years, badminton has made quite a name for itself in the global sporting fraternity because of its simplistic nature. People of all age groups around the world play badminton, be it for leisure or as a part of their daily physical activity. The relatability factor of badminton is what makes it so popular. Not to mention, several individuals take a particular liking to the sport and follow professional badminton players (both male and female) religiously.
With such widespread global popularity, it is hardly a surprise to know that shuttlers who take part in numerous professional badminton tournaments throughout the year garner media attention and fan following from several corners of the world. And with popularity comes wealth. The players (both male and female) who can sustain through the level of competition in badminton and emerge as the best in the world get rewarded handsomely for their toils, even ranking among the richest personalities in the sporting fraternity.
Badminton, as a sport, offers a fair chance to both male and female players to help them reap huge dividends. As such, the prize money on offer at most Badminton World Federation (BWF) tournaments is equal for male and female shuttlers.
How do badminton players earn their wealth?
Although not as big as football, tennis or Formula 1 in terms of earnings, the players associated with badminton do end up amassing significant fortunes. And it is not just the winnings from their participation in tournaments that sum up a shuttler’s overall wealth. Success on the badminton court translates to endorsement deals from major multinational companies. These offer substantial monetary benefits to a player long after they retire from the sport. It is because of the same reason that a list of the richest badminton players warrants the inclusion of retired players as well.
On that note, we bring to you a curated list of the richest female badminton players in the world, including both former and current shuttlers.
Who are the richest female badminton players in the world in 2023?
Net worth in 2023: USD 6 million
Widely regarded as one of the most successful sportspersons from India, PV Sindhu is a global superstar in the badminton fraternity. The 28-year-old is the only Indian to date to win the BWF World Championships (2019) irrespective of gender, and the second individual athlete to win two consecutive medals at the Olympic Games (2016 and 2021). She also holds the distinction of being the first Indian shuttler to reach the final of at the Olympics when she achieved the feat in 2016 (she had to settle for a silver medal after losing to Carolina Marin).
PV Sindhu has won five medals at the BWF World Championships so far, becoming only the second woman after China’s Zhang Ning to win five or more medals in the competition. She also won the BWF World Tour Finals in 2018, and to date, remains the only Indian shuttler to do so.
According to a report by CAknowledge, PV Sindhu, as of September 2023, has a net worth of USD 6 million (approximately), becoming the richest female badminton player in the world. Forbes also featured her in its list of The Highest-Paid Female Athletes in 2018, 2019, 2021 and 2022.
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Net worth in 2023: USD 5 million
Saina Nehwal is one of the most popular sports personalities in India and a talismanic shuttler in the nation’s badminton history. The 33-year-old became the first Indian female badminton player, and the second Indian overall (after the legendary Prakash Padukone), to reach the top of the world rankings. She achieved this feat in 2015.
Saina Nehwal’s other milestones include winning a medal at every BWF major individual event (namely the Olympics, the BWF World Championships and the BWF World Junior Championships). She is also the first Indian shuttler, irrespective of gender, to win an Olympic medal (she won the bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics), the first Indian to reach the final of the BWF World Championships (in 2015) and the first Indian to win the BWF World Junior Championships (in 2008).
According to reports, Saina Nehwal ranks among the richest badminton players in 2023 with an approximate net worth of USD 5 million.
Net worth in 2023: USD 5 million
A former world champion, Wang Yihan was a popular badminton player back in the 2000s and the early 2010s. The Chinese player reached the top of the world rankings in 2009 and has had an incredible career record of 368 wins as compared to 91 losses. She won the World Cup in 2006 and the World Championships in 2011. Yihan also won two gold medals at the Asian Games in 2014 (in the women’s team event and the women’s singles event), and three gold medals at the Asian Championships (in 2011, 2013 and 2016). In addition, she won a silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics after losing to fellow Chinese badminton player Li Xuerui in the summit clash.
According to reports, Wang Yihan, in 2023, has a net worth of around USD 5 million. She retired from professional badminton in 2016.
Net worth in 2023: USD 3.5 million
One of the most prominent faces of badminton in today’s world, Carolina Marin has won a medal in almost every BWF tournament, along with winning consecutive gold medals at the World Championships and the European Championships. The Spaniard remains the only female badminton player to date to win the World Championships three times (2014, 2015 and 2018). She has also won the European Championships six times (2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2021 and 2022). Additionally, she won the gold medal in the women’s singles event at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Marin is a former world number one women’s singles shuttler who remained at the summit for 66 weeks.
According to reports, Carolina Marin, in 2023, enjoys a net worth of approximately USD 3.5 million. She also acts as the brand ambassador of the football league La Liga and helps with its promotions in countries outside Spain.
Net worth in 2023: USD 3 million
At the young age of 21 years, An Se-young is taking the world of badminton by storm. Hailing from South Korea, she won the women’s singles title at the BWF World Championships in 2023. In the process, she also became the first Korean women’s singles player to achieve this impressive feat. The world number one in women’s singles has also won the prestigious Uber Cup title in 2022 in the women’s team category.
According to reports, An Se-young, in 2023, has a net worth of around USD 3 million. In 2019, the Korean shuttler received the Most Promising Player of the Year title from BWF. With the kind of form she has displayed over the years, the future looks bright for the shuttler who is still very young in terms of maturity and age.
Net worth in 2023: USD 2.2 million
A former Chinese badminton player, Sun Yu was a part of the Chinese teams that won the Uber Cup in 2014 and 2016. A player who promised a lot in terms of potential, Yu won the Asian Junior Championships in 2011 in the girls’ singles event. She also won the gold medal at the same tournament in the mixed team event and followed up her impressive performance with another gold medal in the same category, this time at the 2012 World Junior Championships in Chiba.
However, before the world could see the best of Sun Yu, the Chinese shuttler was forced to retire in 2019 at the tender age of 25 after struggling with multiple injuries for several years. The last tournament that the Chinese shuttler featured in was the 2017 BWF World Championships where her run ended in the quarter-finals.
Even though her career was curtailed due to injuries, her wealth was left relatively untouched. According to reports, Sun Yu, in 2023, enjoys a net worth of around USD 2.2 million and ranks among the richest female badminton players in the world.
Net worth in 2023: USD 2 million
Widely regarded as one of the finest shuttlers of her generation, Akane Yamaguchi is a sporting icon in her homeland of Japan. The 26-year-old Japanese shuttler is a two-time World Champion (2021 and 2022) in the women’s singles discipline. She has also won the Asian Championships in 2019. In team events too, Yamaguchi has enjoyed considerable success, winning the Asian Mixed Team Championships in 2017, the Asia Team Championships in 2018 and 2020, the Asian Games in 2018 and the prestigious Uber Cup, also in 2018. As of September 2023, the Japanese shuttler is ranked second in the women’s singles rankings.
According to reports, Akane Yamaguchi, in 2023, enjoys a net worth of around USD 2 million. She was also the recipient of the BWF Player of the Year award in 2022.
Net worth in 2023: USD 1.5 million
Specialising in the doubles discipline, Greysia Polii is a former Indonesian badminton player who ranks among the finest female shuttlers hailing from Asia. She won the gold medal in the women’s doubles category at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, besides clinching the highest honours at the Asian Games in 2014 and at SEA Games in 2019. Polii has also won as many as three bronze medals at the World Championships (2015, 2018 and 2019). After being elected as a member of the BWF Athletes’ Commission, Polii announced her retirement from professional badminton in 2022.
According to reports, Greysia Polii, in 2023, enjoys a net worth of around USD 1.5 million. She ranks among the wealthiest female badminton players in the world.
Net worth in 2023: USD 1.5 million
Another Japanese player on the list, Nozomi Okuhara is a former world number one who is renowned for her speed and endurance. She won the highest honour in the women’s singles discipline at the World Championships in 2017. Okuhara is also an Olympic medallist, having won the bronze medal at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016. She has also won gold medals at the 2018 Asian Games and the 2018 Asia Team Championships in the women’s team events. Okuhara enjoys an enviable career record of 347 wins as opposed to 119 losses.
According to reports, Nozomi Okuhara, in 2023, has a net worth of approximately USD 1.5 million. She ranks among the richest female badminton players in the world, even though her form on the badminton court has not been the best in recent times.
Net worth in 2023:USD 1 to 1.5 million
Rounding off the list of the richest female badminton players in the world is Tine Baun, a two-time European champion (2010 and 2012) and a former world number one in women’s singles rankings. Baun has also won the European Women’s Team Championships twice (2008 and 2010). In addition, the former Danish shuttler has a bronze medal to her name from the World Championships in 2010. However, the most notable achievement of her career is winning the prestigious All England Open Badminton Championship three times (2008, 2010 and 2013). Interestingly, the 2013 edition of the All-England Open was Baun’s last tournament before her retirement.
According to various reports, Tine Baun’s net worth, in 2023, is estimated to be in the range of USD 1 to 1.5 million, although the exact amount remains unknown.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
– Who is the highest-earning female badminton player of all time?
PV Sindhu is the highest-earning female badminton player of all time.
– Which are some of the major tournaments that contribute to a player’s wealth in badminton?
Most tournaments in the BWF World Tour offer monetary benefits. In addition, the BWF World Tour Finals offer a significant amount of prize money.
– Do female badminton players have endorsement deals like players in other sports?
Yes, female badminton players often enjoy rich endorsement portfolios like their counterparts in other sports.
(Main Image Credits: Courtesy Instagram/@PV Sindhu and Instagram/@AKANE.YAMAGUCHI)
(Featured Image Credits: Courtesy Instagram/@Carolina Marin)