rio olympics
Chain Singh (extreme left) and Jitu Rai (2nd from left) are the two Indian army athletes to compete at Rio 2016. Pictured: Athletes Chain Singh, Jitu Rai, Heena Sidhu, Ayonika Paul, Shiva Thapa and PV Sindhu during a press conference organised before the departure of Indian contingent for the Rio Olympics in Mumbai on May 30, 2016.IANS

Rio Olympics 2016 will be remembered as a special occasion for the Indian Army as according to the Army Sports Institute (ASI) in Pune, the contingent of athletes they are sending for the mega sporting quadrennial event this time around is the biggest ever.

As many as 13 athletes from the Indian Armed Forces will be making their appearance at the Rio de Janeiro games, starting Aug. 5. The number of Indian Army athletes who participated in the London 2012 Olympics was 12.

The reason for the increase in the number of athletes from the Indian Army with every passing Olympics is owing to the unique training regime they are made to follow, according to ASI Commandant Col. PS Cheema. "Our training is designed in such a way that every sportsperson receives the technical, tactical, physical and mental training with an optimum learning environment to win," Cheema told the Times of India.

The training centres of the athletes from the army remained ASI Pune, the Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) in Mhow, a cantonment in Indore and other instutes under the Indian Government's Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS).

"If Army continued to focus in this manner, I am sure next the Olympics would be dominated by our players," said (retd) Brig. GS Sandhu, who was a former chairman of the Army Sports Control Board. 

The number of Indian Army athletes could have been 16 as three more athletes -- Devender Singh (20km walk), Sumit Kumar (4 x 400m relay) and Irfan T K (20km walk) had qualified for the Rio 2016 games, but owing to the limited number of seats in their respective events, they could not make it. 

The list of athletes from Indian Army to participate in Rio Olympics 2016:

Athlete  Sports  Olympics event
Ravinder Khatri Wrestling 85kg Greco Roman
Jitu Rai Shooting 10m air pistol, 50m free pistol
Bhokonal Dattu Rowing Single sculls
Gurpreet Singh Shooting 10m air pistol, 25m rapid pistol
Chain Singh Shooting 50m rifle prone, 50m rifle 3 position
Sandeep Kumar Athletics 50km walk
Nitender Rawat Athletics Marathon 
Ganapathi K Athletics  20km walk
Gopi T Athletics  Marathon  
Kheta Ram Athletics  Marathon
Kunhu MD Athletics  4 x 400m relay 
Arokia Rajiv Athletics  4 x 400m relay
Jinson Johnson Athletics  800m