Olympics shooting: Peter Wilson's win triggers emotional scenes

By Aimee LewisBBC Sport at the Royal Artillery Barracks
GB star Wilson wins shooting gold

Standing 6ft 6in, Peter Wilson is not a difficult man to spot, but from the moment he fell to his knees and wept with joy and relief at becoming Olympic champion, he suddenly became a difficult man to get hold of.

"Peter! Remember me? I'm your dad!" was the shout from beyond the barriers as the 25-year-old came to the end of a long line of cameramen and journalists, all of whom had been eager for a minute or two with Britain's shooting gold medallist.

A cluster of supporters also patiently stayed behind after the hubbub of the medal ceremony, all pushing and shouting as they demanded that the best double trap shooter on the planet stop for a picture.

The beaming gentle giant, of course, duly obliged before warmly embracing his father, a moment which will become a memory passed down to generations of Wilsons.

"Can I have it now?" asked the senior Wilson, Charles, referring to the weighty piece of gold dangling around his son's neck, to which a chuckling Wilson replied: "You can have the bouquet!"

Seconds later another shout came Wilson's way and this time it was from a Middle Eastern prince, Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Hasher Al Maktoum, an Olympic gold medallist who happens to be Wilson's coach.

Another embrace and another picture followed; all moments the Briton is determined to treasure because, in his own words, "I will never experience anything like this ever again in my life".

There was a mixture of relief and pride emanating from the Wilson camp, especially from a smiling Sheikh Ahmed, who admitted his heart sank when his protege missed two targets with eight shots remaining.

Even the patriotic crowd, who had filled the shooting range's grandstand to witness Britain win a fourth gold medal of the Games, gulped in unison as their man missed, freezing under the palpable tension.

But the world record holder held on to win by two shots and later revealed months of training, shooting at 50,000 targets since January, had helped him recover his composure.

"I didn't know what I did wrong," said Wilson. "Normally I like to know where and why I missed it but it didn't faze me too much. I missed, so be it, move on. I don't know how I won it. I just did it and to hit the last pair was very special."

Wilson's momentary lapse only added to the Hollywood ending which has been written for the son of a Dorset farmer who turned to a Dubai prince for help after his funding was withdrawn four years ago.

The champion's road to the pinnacle of his sport has been long and winding, with Wilson admitting he nearly gave up on a sport he only chose after a snowboarding injury forced him to turn his back on his first loves, rugby and cricket.

Shooting aided his recuperation from the shoulder injury sustained on the slopes and six years ago the teenaged Wilson discovered the double trap - within months he was Great Britain's junior champion.

A trouble-free journey to the top beckoned until four years ago when, in the darkest days of the global recession, the former Millfield student became one of 49 aspiring athletes to lose his funding, and the golden boy was forced to seek work as a waiter at his local pub.

"You do contemplate giving up," said Wilson. "The late nights and early mornings destroy your shooting. I was finishing a shift at 2am and getting up early to go to the gym because you have to keep fit in this sport, it isn't a question of turning up to shoot. It really wasn't possible."

His quest for Olympic gold was made easier when his parents, Fiona and Charles, agreed to fund his training.

When Sheikh Ahmed, double trap gold medallist at Athens in 2004, became his coach, Wilson's potential soon began to be fulfilled.

He rose to the top of the world rankings, breaking the world record in Arizona in March, before slipping to second in the world during a faltering few months leading up to the Games.

Wilson delight at gold

"My training hasn't been fantastic, I wasn't overly pleased with how I'd been shooting," admitted Wilson.

Sheikh Ahmed was not pleased initially with Wilson's approach during the Games, either, and ordered his student to switch off his mobile phone and not contact his girlfriend, Michelle, or his family, until gold was won.

"He wanted it so bad, but when you want something so bad sometimes you start thinking about losing it," Sheikh Ahmed told BBC Sport.

"I told him to separate himself from the world, switch his phone off, not talk to his family and friends. I told him 'those people aren't going to help you'.

"I did it for two weeks when I was in Athens, I was on a mission, and that's what I wanted him to do.

"I asked him to do it for the whole Olympics, but he wasn't doing it so then I said 'come on' and he promised not to contact anyone, so for a couple of days he didn't get on the phone.

"Now he can celebrate and have fun."

With gold in the bag, he does not need be told twice to enjoy his success.

Asked how he was going to celebrate, he said he was going to spend the evening getting "very, very drunk" and "probably do something stupid".

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