Peter Wilson - The Gold medal winning shooter who bounced back after losing his lottery funding
It is, as Britain’s Gold medal winning shooter Peter Wilson admits, as if Prince William was coaching Usain Bolt. The double trap victor from Dorset owes his success to his unlikely mentor and benefactor, Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum, a member of the Dubai Royal Family.
The 6ft 6in farmer’s son, 25, lost his Lottery funding after the British shooting team’s failure at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Wilson worked as a pub waiter to keep his dream alive, until he forged a friendship with Al Maktoum, a champion shooter who won his country’s first Olympic gold in double trap at Athens in 2004.
Wilson recalled: “He (Al Maktoum) said he was going to quit after Beijing. I said, ‘well, I’m about to lose my funding’. And we had a deal over a coffee and a handshake.”
Wilson escaped the British winter for Dubai, where despite carrying a shotgun, he was whisked through security and taken to meet Maktoum at the range. “That was where the magic happened,” he says. “Since then I haven't looked back.”
Maktoum, 48, agreed to coach Wilson for free. “I am very lucky,” the medal-winner, competing in his first Games, says. “As far as I am concerned, I think he is the best coach in the world.”
Wilson learned to shoot his Perazzi MX2005 High Rib shotgun in the Arab-style, standing sideways. After intensive sessions, the pair dined in Dubai on British pigeon.
"He's fairly famous out there," Wilson said. “I suppose it's like being coached by Prince William or Prince Harry back in the UK for whatever they have won an Olympic gold at.”
The improvements in his performance ensured that Wilson, who is the double trap world record holder and current world number two, won his funding back.
Although Maktoum has been ill, he travelled to the Royal Artillery Barracks to assist Wilson in his successful attempt to end Britain’s 12-year shooting medal drought.
Despite shooting from the age of eight, Wilson only took up competitive trap shooting in 2006 after a shoulder injury suffered while snowboarding prevented him from playing squash and cricket.
The champion, who listens to dubstep and drum ‘n’ bass to get in the “zone” before competing, hopes his Olympic success will convince youngsters that shooting is a safe sport to take up.
He is, however, not an easy athlete to house in an Olympic Village. His size means he requires his own specially-made duvet to sleep in.
Reflecting on his Olympic victory, Wilson said: “How can a farm boy from Dorset possibly prepare for that? It’s just impossible. I just tried to enjoy every moment and the crowd were amazing and this is really important for shooting.”
"I was on my knees I could not believe the emotions that came right over me. I think it was Ian (Coley, GB coach) who grabbed me first and then I saw dad and the rest of the family,” he said.
"All these years during my preparation nothing else mattered - world cup, world competitions don’t matter more than the Olympic Games. Nothing compares to winning in London."
Asked how he was going to celebrate after winning gold, Wilson said: "I'm going to get very, very drunk and probably do something silly.”
Arsenal transfer news: Atletico Madrid closing in on Santi Cazorla - reports
Arturo Vidal: Manchester United bid £39m for Juventus midfielder
Arsenal transfer news: Arsene Wenger set to cancel moves for Sami Khedira and Morgan Schneiderlin in favour of Jack Wilshere - reports
Manchester United: Five things we've learned so far about Louis van Gaal, including his ability to accommodate Juan Mata, Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney
LA Galaxy vs Manchester United: 'Beautiful goals and beautiful attacks' - Louis van Gaal revels in 'fantastic' 7-0 start
- 1 Fifty Shades of Grey trailer: First look at Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 50 books for students to read this summer: From Ernest Hemingway to Gillian Flynn
- 4 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia