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4 Athletes Turned Entrepreneurs Replicating Their Success In Business Field Creating history at Olympics and in entrepreneurship

By Ritu Kochar

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They are dedicated and when they put their mind to something, there's no turning back or stopping till they have achieved it.These words can be used to describe both; entrepreneurs and sportspersons, because folks, these people belong to a different species all together. Cut out from the same material, the only difference between them is their method of execution. One competes in the field, while the other guns the battle in the business world.

However, sometimes these walls of differences break down, and athletes looking for a new grassy field to play on, enter the business world. And looking at India's splendid performance in Rio Olympics 2016 so far, its time we give these athletes turned entrepreneurs, the appreciation they deserve, for replicating their success in the field of entrepreneurship.

Leander Paes

Tennis player Leander Paes is the product of pre-economic liberalization era in a very poor India and was that candle that gave hope to the entire country. He got India an Olympic bronze in 1996, ending a drought of 44 years. He is still making India proud and will continue to do so even after his career in tennis, through his sports management company called Leander Sports. Set up in 2005, Leander Sports is this tennis stars' high-school dream, which provides diversified expertise in sports, media, sports content and sports infrastructure.

Paes has also given motivational talks at Microsoft, GE, Nestle, Coca-Cola and the Tatas, and recently signed up with IMG-Reliance, which wants to develop sports, fashion and entertainment properties in India. He plans to venture into animation and apparel as well.

Gagan Narang

This shooting star is popularly known as "The 600 Express' for having shot the World Record score of 600 twice. He was the first Indian to qualify for London Olympics 2010 and won 4 gold medals at the Commonwealth games in 2010. It is his love for shooting that he wants to promote the sport by blooding young talents at the right time in order to produce newer stars through his shooting academy called Guns for Glory.

Narang oversees the academy as Director, with National Level rifle shooter Pawan Singh and actor Nana Patekar. Situated in Pune, Guns for Glory provides world class infrastructure and has brought together a bevy of foreign Coaches, a foreign Grip Maker, Sports Injury Management Team, Physiotherapist, and Equipment Control and so on.

Saina Nehwal

Nehwal is killing it in the badminton world and has touched many milestones. Some include, being the only Indian badminton player to have won an Olympic medal; only Indian to have won medals in all of the BWF major individual events, namely Olympics, BWF World Championships, and the BWF World Junior Championships; only female player from India and second from India to have attain the world no. 1 ranking, and again, the first Indian woman to make it to the finals of the All England Open. Phew!

Now with so much on her plate, Sania has ventured into business by investing into startups. She made her first investment in health startup "Paree' and also endorsed the product. She has a dedicated sporting range with the multinational sports goods manufacturer Yonex, 4% of the profits of which goes to her.

Abhinav Bindra

In his 20 year old career filled with accomplishments, the one which shines out is being the only individual gold win by an Indian at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Bindra's performance in Rio Olympics was equally compelling. Though he missed the bronze by a whisker, his performance still fetched him quite a bit accolades.

With Olympics, Bindra's one goal was achieved and now the entrepreneur in him is getting ready for another shot. He has set-up a startup incubation fund by the name Shooting Star LLP. His existing company Abhinav Futuristics has a sporting division to it which is into technology, fitness and health. It also has a JV with Walther to manufacture the rifles in India. As per Abhinav, "Sports is an instant connect that I have. I am also excited about areas in health and fitness. Fitness is a huge market in India but it is an unorganized sector in India."

So far his fund "Shooting Star LLP' has made two initial investments. Though Abhinav was fortunate enough being born in a well-off family, which could support his training,his aim now, is to support kids at a young age and the ones who need financial help. "The Abhinav Bindra Foundation Trust' acts as a platform to promote education and sports, vocation training and healthcare.

Let's wish these players good luck and hope they emerge as winners in whatever field they play on.
Ritu Kochar

Former Staff, Entrepreneur India

Ritu used to work as a Feature writer for Entrepreneur India.

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