Being the best

20111004_DT150_012Peter Wilson1

Peter Wilson is the most enthusiastic person I’ve interviewed. He talks as fast as he shoots, and as we catch up just a few days after he received his MBE at Buckingham Palace it is clear he is still on a high.

“Peter Wilson MBE sounds very odd,” he says. “I’m struggling to take it all in.

“I won Olympic gold in London just over six months ago and now I’m a Member of the British Empire. I don’t think it will sink in until I have a moment to relax.”

Finding time to do that will be tricky. His medal win, combined with youth, enthusiasm and sheer niceness makes Peter a hugely marketable sports personality.

As such, he is now managed by Roar Global and has taken on brand ambassador roles for Holland & Holland and the Gleneagles Shooting School.

“I’m extremely proud to be representing both Holland & Holland and Gleneagles and am thoroughly enjoying working with them both. I am also in the process of developing two Apple applications, the first launching in May. Watch this space.”

Not surprisingly, given the calls on his time, Peter hasn’t done much shooting since London 2012.

“I haven’t shot much Double Trap at all. The rules changed in January, with pairs of clays now randomly thrown from three traps, so I’ll need time to get my head around the new discipline. My guns went in recently for servicing and once they’re back I hope to start training full-time.”

Peter started back in earnest in mid-March and will fly out to Dubai later this spring to start training with his coach, Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum.

“I want to start what I call bulk training, shooting at least 1,000 rounds a day, with the goal of getting my head around the new discipline.

“I love training and relish structure in my life, so after the last few months of juggling commercial commitments, I’m looking forward to getting back into a routine where I know what I will be doing on a daily basis.”

Given his enthusiasm its no surprise that Peter views the new double trap discipline as positive.

“For me it’s great. I set out to achieve one thing, and that was to win the Olympics. On top of that I wanted to set a world record, which I did in March last year.

“Being able to tick off both life-long goals at the age of 25 was not in the plan. The rule change has definitely had an impact on my decision to compete in Rio. It couldn’t have come at a better time in my competitive career.”

After six months off Wilson has training in his sights again

After six months off Wilson has
training in his sights again

Although Peter admits that he has absolutely no idea what technique he will use to shoot the new format, he’s relishing the challenge.

“The new discipline appears to suit a more natural way of shooting. Being able to hunt the target, rather than mechanically control the way you shoot and move will, I believe, encourage more people into the discipline.”

Clearly though it will take more than learning a new discipline to get to the Rio Olympics, as Peter explains. “Going to Rio is not just about rocking up. I really hope to be there and am confident I will be there, but it’s four years away.

“To get there means winning or medalling on the world stage, then winning a quota place. But if someone else comes along and deserves that place more than me, they will go instead.

“If chosen, I then have to show I’m in the best form to win a medal, only then will I go to the Olympics.”

Whether or not Peter competes on the global stage this year is something he has yet to decide. He explains that his current focus is on training harder and smarter without the pressure to compete.

“It may be that I don’t shoot very many, or any, competitions this year. I want to see just how good I can be and have an opportunity to do just that this year.

“If I’m in really good shape at the end of the year then I’ll put my name forward for the World Championships but nothing is set in stone.”

Training harder than ever before involves more than just breaking clays, and Peter is looking to make improvements in all areas in what he calls a “no stone unturned” philosophy.

To this end he is working on improving his physical fitness, strength and diet, and has recently started working with a statistician to work out how to break that extra clay in a training session or competition.

20111004_DT150_014Peter Wilson2The training regime will be managed by Ahmed Al Maktoum, who is clearly one of the most significant people in Peter’s life.

“Ahmed and I spent a great deal of time looking at every aspect of my technique in the build-up to the Olympics and I was shooting an unfathomably large number of targets while simultaneously training my brain to cope under the most immense pressure.

“I don’t use a sports psychologist because I train my mind and my body in a very specific way. He’s one of the greatest coaches I have ever come across.

“Not many people have achieved the success that he has on the global stage and then chosen to coach for free.”

Peter also points to the role other people have played in his success, which he describes as a team effort.

“I have to thank British Shooting (UK Sport), Ian Coley and my parents, all of whom played an integral role in my Olympic success.

“I harp on about Ahmed because he is unpaid and does it because he loves it. As for Ian, he is a great manager and has always been there for me.”

While the team behind Peter Wilson has obviously played a significant role in his success, there is no doubt that there is something rather special about this 26-year-old.

A combination of innate talent and unfettered enthusiasm for hard work is one thing.

Combined with his sheer determination to be the best he can be, this is sure to mean that any betting person will be putting their money on another Wilson gold in Rio.

Helena Douglas

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