Two global sports equipment giants Adidas and Yonex have joined the race with China's Li Ning to get India's rising badminton star Pusarla Venkata Sindhu to endorse their products, offering undisclosed sums and attractive terms.
Confirming the offers, Sindhu's father P V Ramana, a former volleyball international, told IANS that they are weighing all the offers.
Li Ning, in a bid to enter the Indian market in a big way, has apparently offered 18-year-old Sindhu, currently contracted by Japanese major Yonex, an irresistible two-year contract which would make her the richest shuttler in the country.
Ramana, however, refused to name the companies with whom his daughter is in negotiations. All he would say is that she has been approached by more than one sports goods manufacturer.
Market sources and badminton circles told IANS that Yonex is keen on extending the contract that expires Jan 31. Adidas like Li Ning is pushing to enter the Indian badminton arena with Sindhu.
"Nothing has been finalised yet. It is true that Li Ning has made an offer, but we haven't decided anything yet. Two other companies have also come up with equally impressive offers and we are studying the terms and conditions of all," Ramana told IANS.
"My daughter currently has a contract with Yonex that runs till January 31, 2014. We will take the call around Febuary 1, 2014, when everyone will come to know," added Ramana.
Yonex is the world's leading company in badminton accessories and has a tie-up with the Badminton Association of India (BAI). Most of the Indian players, including Olympic medallist Saina Nehwal, are contracted by Yonex.
Ramana said the whole exercise is to get the best deal for his daughter and a final decision will be taken after consulting Sindhu's coach and former All-England champion Pullela Gopichand.
"I have also been a sportsperson for 20 years and I know how it has treated me. I don't want the same to happen to my daughter. Whoever offers us the best deal, we will take that. The final decision will be taken in consultation with Gopichand," said the Arjuna awardee.
The performance graph of Sindhu has been on the upswing and this year she became the first Indian woman to win a singles medal at the World Championships in August followed by two Grand Prix Gold titles in Malaysia and Macau.
Currently ranked No.11, Sindhu also made it to the top-10 of the world briefly and like her father she was conferred the Arjuna Award in September.