Olympics distract from 'huge politics' of shooting, says GB star
New shotgun world number one Peter Wilson says the Olympics are enabling Britain's shooting community to set aside its differences ahead of 2012.
Wilson became world number one last month after helping Britain to team gold in his double trap event at the European Championships, in Belgrade.
“For such a small sport, I don't understand how there can be such huge levels of politics”
He has now returned to Serbia for this week's Shotgun World Championships .
"People are forgetting all the woes in shooting and the politics, because the Games are around the corner," he said.
"That's probably the first time I've been able to say that in my short career.
"For such a small sport, I don't understand how there can be such huge levels of politics. But the Olympics is a unifying time for us to come together."
BRITAIN'S HOT SHOTS
- Olympic double trap, in which competitors use a shotgun to shoot two clay targets travelling in different directions, is Britain's most successful event at present
- There are also rifle and pistol events at the Games, but no Britons are currently ranked in the world top 20
- By contrast, Peter Wilson leads the double trap world rankings with Richard Faulds seventh; GB's Aaron Heading is ranked seventh in the similar Olympic trap discipline (one target, not two, being the difference)
For several years after the awarding of the 2012 Olympic Games to London, the sport waged a high-profile campaign against the nomination of the Royal Artillery Barracks, in Woolwich, as a temporary venue during the Games.
Efforts to move the venue and upgrade the sport's traditional home at Bisley, in Surrey, have since failed.
But Wilson believes the focus has now shifted back to the competitors rather than the venue debate and shooting's internal politics.
Sydney 2000 gold medallist Richard Faulds joined Wilson on the British team which won European gold this year and earned individual silver at the same event, but Wilson's World Cup gold in Slovenia earlier this summer has propelled him to the top of the world rankings.
"I don't feel like I'm number one - I'm trying to stay as grounded as possible," Wilson, who turns 25 next week, told BBC Sport from Serbia.
"I feel fantastic but it hasn't sunk in that I'm there, or deserve to be there. There are a lot of people very capable of winning at the absolute top level.
"In myself and Richard we have two guys working to the best of our ability, pushing each other for big scores.
"This year I've been very lucky - I've won every single competition in the UK and set new benchmarks - and Richard's picked up on that. He's shooting at a very high level."
Both men have earned Olympic quota places for Britain in the double trap at London 2012, and both will compete for the world title in Serbia on Saturday.
"A gold medal here would be phenomenal but shooting isn't like that, it comes right down to the day and I wouldn't say in any instance I'm the clear-cut favourite," concluded Wilson.
"If I do my best I'll win by a clear margin. If I don't, I won't."