When it comes to identifying GB gold medal prospects for London 2012, most experts will shortlist Peter Wilson as one of the hot shots for glory. And it is easy to see why the 25 year-old youngster is so popular with shooting fans.
The talented youngster from Dorset made the best possible impact when he smashed the world record on his way to victory in the Shotgun World Cup in Tucson, Arizona, in March. But it’s his infectious enthusiasm for his sport and his engaging personality that makes him such a hit.
It was easy to join the Wilson fan club when we met earlier this week at the unveiling of the iconic new shooting venue at the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich. The sport’s new home is staging the ISSF Shooting World Cup – a competition doubling up as an Olympic Test event – and Wilson is the man in form in the double trap after his record breaking 198 out of 200 on his way to victory in Arizona.
The farmer’s son only turned to shooting when he was unable to pursue squash and cricket, after suffering serious nerve damage to his shoulder in a snowboarding accident. His father suggested a visit to the national shooting centre at Bisley to try double trap shooting – and within four months, Wilson was European junior champion.
Since 2008, he has been coached by his mentor Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum, a member of Dubai’s ruling family. It was Al Maktoum’s Olympic double trap gold in 2004 that helped inspire Wilson to take up the sport as a career.