New Delhi: The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) has nominated rifle ace Anjum Moudgil (pictured above) for the Khel Ratna — the country's highest sporting honour — while recommending Jaspal Rana for the Dronacharya Award for the second year in a row.

The NRAI has sent the names of champion pistol shooters Saurabh Chaudhary, Abhishek Verma, Manu Bhaker and promising rifle shooter Elavenil Valarivan for the prestigious Arjuna Award, according to federation sources.

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Bhaker and Valarivan's names were added to the list on Thursday (May 14). "Anjum Moudgil has been nominated for Khel Ratna while the NRAI has again sent Jaspal's name for Dronacharya. They have always believed that he deserves it and are hoping he gets it this time," a federation source told PTI.

"Saurabh Chaudhary, Abhishek Verma, Manu Bhaker and Elavenil have been recommended for Arjuna," he added. When contacted, a top NRAI official though was not forthcoming, only saying they are in the process of finalising the names.

Jaspal Rana

The 26-year-old Moudgil, who started shooting in 2008, is among the first two Indians to have secured quota places in the sport for the Tokyo Olympics. The shooter from Chandigarh earned the quota in the 10m Air Rifle event when she won the silver medal in the ISSF World Cup in Korea in 2008.

Last year, Moudgil paired up with Divyansh Singh Panwar to claim the 10m Air Rifle mixed team gold medal in the ISSF World Cup in Munich and Beijing. She also reached the final in the 10m Air Rifle event in the ISSF World Cup in Munich and Rio de Janeiro. Last December, Moudgil won the title in the women's 50m 3P event at the 63rd National Shooting Championship in Bhopal.

The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award carries a medallion, a certificate and a cash prize of Rs 7.5 lakh.

Rana's exclusion last year snowballed into a big controversy after India's only individual Olympic gold-medallist Abhinav Bindra criticised the selection panel for not finalising the seasoned coach for the Dronacharya Award. The 43-year-old Rana, a multiple Asian Games gold-medallist marksman, is credited to have groomed the likes of teen sensations Bhaker, Saurabh and Anish Bhanwala into world-class shooters.