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Peter Wilson: An interview with an Olympic Gold medallist

As Peter Wilson sank to his knees in drained ecstasy, I wondered if the next thing he’d shoot would be a pheasant. I was wrong. “It was a grouse, actually, if I’m honest,” he said. “I went up to Walsingham in Yorkshire to do a demonstration for a lovely chap who had invited me up there. I did a clay demo off the side of this very glamorous house and double trap off the ha-ha. Very kindly, they asked me to join them and shoot grouse the following day.”

Meat and drink to Peter Wilson then? “Well, with walked-up grouse over pointers, you more or less have double trap, but this was driven grouse. Any grouse sliding left and right, or coming straight at you is a much tougher shot. High driven birds are always particularly difficult too; because that’s something I don’t practice for, so it takes a bit of time to get your eye in. I think, for anyone who shoots a lot of clays, whatever the discipline, if you have got a gun in your shoulder throughout the year, you rarely lose that sight picture and if you do, you only ever lose it for a very short amount of time.”

Following that dramatic but emphatic Olympic gold medal Peter Wilson has been taking a rest from the double trap since August: “I thought it was best to leave it for a bit and get that hunger back before I start training again. I won gold on August 2, dropped to my knees and that was pretty much the last time I shot proper double trap, which seems very strange for me to have that huge gap. But I do normally have the winter off anyway. I opted out of the World Cup Final, which is what you qualify for throughout the season, firstly because I was never going to be able to train properly for it, and secondly it was just right slap bang in the middle of doing a lot of media stuff. I had a long chat with my coach, Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum, and we agreed that if your heart is not in it at the moment, there is no point in pulling the trigger.

“And if I’m honest, I thought I should try and capitalise on my success and have a bit of fun.” For fun, read oodles of shooting invitations? “Yes,” he said with a grin. “They have gone up a little this season.” Using an all-singing Perazzi? “Far from it; I borrow Dad’s gun or use my old trap gun. I have an old Miroku MK38 for game, a very basic grade one trap gun I won the European Championships with when I was a junior. I was going to sell it but Dad put his foot down and said no, you can’t sell something with such history.

“I shoot 15 to 20 days a year. We shoot at home in Dorset and I am always involved in those days, either with a gun or running the day. We’ve actually gone down a bit, and are shooting eight days this year. I ran it for three or four years. Last year was the year I said enough is enough because I had to focus on the Olympics. Dad took it back in hand recently and wanted to run it on a more relaxed basis. In the past, I had a day for myself, for running it, so I would invite a few mates and repay a few invitations. Alastair Cook, the England cricket captain, comes down for the odd day. He’s a great mate.”

Okay then, if you had to choose between a right-and-left at woodcock at home and another Olympic Gold? “My Dad’s done it, but I haven’t. I would have to say another Olympic Gold medal if I’m honest. It is a life-changing medal. I’ve set world records, won world cups, and I am very pleased that I have done all that, but to win an Olympic Gold is just mega. I won an Olympic Gold medal at home but to win another Olympic Gold in Rio would just be insane.”

At just 26, Peter Wilson is articulate, attractive and talented… a brand manager’s dream.

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