Champion pistol shooter Jitu Rai, Rahi Sarnobat and P N Prakash have been recommended by the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) for the prestigious Arjuna Awards this year.
The 28-year-old Jitu won an Indian record of seven medals during a dream phase that started in June last year, the most recent being the bronze in 10-metre air pistol event at the ISSF World Cup in South Korea last month.
Recruited in the 11th battalion of the Gorkha regiment, Rai clinched the gold medals at the 2014 Commonwealth and Asian Games and a silver at the ISSF World Championships in Spain, which helped him earn a quota place for next year's Rio Olympic Games.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist and Asian Games silver-winning shooter Sarnobat is the second athlete recommended from the sport.
Twenty-four-year-old Sarnobat scripted history by becoming the first Indian pistol shooter to clinch a gold medal in a World Cup.
Bangalore-based Prakash had won a silver medal at the Glasgow games last year besides being crowned Champion of Champions at the 58th National Shooting Championships in Pune last December. The 39-year-old had also bagged a bronze in the 2013 World Cup in Changwon, South Korea.
The three shooters are currently training in Maribor, Slovenia, preparing for the upcoming Rifle/Pistol World Cup in Fort Benning, USA.
Image: Jitu Rai
Photograph: Olympic Gold Quest