When news happens, text SDE and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
South coast shooter gets help from Dubai Royal Family
11:00am Wednesday 1st August 2012 in Sport
British shooter Peter Wilson will go for Olympic gold tomorrow with a little help from the Dubai Royal Family.
Wilson, 25, from Dorset, is the double trap world record holder and current world number two, and is Team GB's main medal hope at the Royal Artillery Barracks.
In his corner is none other than Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum, the Olympic gold medallist in the same event at Athens in 2004 and a member of Dubai's ruling family.
This unlikely alliance - think Prince Harry coaching Usain Bolt - was forged on the shooting circuit after Wilson lost his funding.
''He is a phenomenal coach,'' said Wilson. ''I am extremely lucky and I can't really labour that point more heavily. He is a phenomenal guy.
''I lost my funding in 2008. It was cut to the sport, which went down from 55 athletes to five. I have to admit that I wasn't shooting my best at that time.
''Moving forward, Ahmed was there. We were good friends on the competitive circuit. We got chatting about all sorts of bits and pieces, mainly about squash to be totally honest. We just became friends.
''He said that 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 to a certain extent.
''I flew out to Dubai that winter. That was where the magic happened. Since then I haven't looked back.
''Subsequently, I have got my funding back this year. I was ranked number one in the UK. Ever since then I have been taking little steps forward to this one goal.''
A lot of the coaching goes on over the phone and Wilson did think Al Maktoum would not make it to the Games due to health problems.
But the 48-year-old has travelled from Dubai to London and will be on hand when his protege aims to end a 12-year Olympic medal drought for Britain's shooters.
''He's fairly famous out there,'' added Wilson. ''I mean he is their only Olympic medallist in the United Arab Emirates - and the fact is he is a gold medallist.
''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. That would be pretty special.
''Imagine them coaching someone from the UAE. Absolutely everyone here would find that quite bemusing. They probably think it's odd that he is coaching me. He is, though.
''I am very lucky, I am very fortunate. As far as I am concerned, I think he is the best coach in the world. Who better to lead me to the Games than him?''
Comments are closed on this article.