Sheikh Ahmed tells 7DAYS of his Olympic jitters for Wilson
Going for gold at the Olympic Games would rank as the most nerve-wracking experience for most people in sport.
However, for HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Hasher Al Maktoum watching his protege Peter Wilson shoot for glory made him more anxious than when he achieved sporting immortality at Athens 2004.
Brilliant Brit Wilson won gold in the double trap last Thursday, beating a high-class field to give the hosts’ golden run added impetus.
Straight after shooting his way to stardom the 25-year-old paid tribute to his coach Sheikh Ahmed saying: “I am very lucky.
“I dedicate this gold medal to Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum. As far as I am concerned, he is the best coach in the world. Without him I know I would not be here.”
And Sheikh Ahmed, who won the UAE’s only ever Olympic gold in the same event in 2004, has revealed that watching his pupil beat the best on the planet was far from easy.
“I was never as nervous as I was that morning,” Sheikh Ahmed told 7DAYS. “I was freaking out when he missed two [shots], it wasn’t easy at all watching Peter during the final.
“I felt far more nervous last week than when I was going for gold in Athens. [Back then] I was leading by six going into the final round, I knew I would win.
“But watching my technique in the hands of someone else is different. I was in control in 2004 and wasn’t [last week].”
Sheikh Ahmed became Wilson’s coach in 2009 on one condition: that the affable Brit put in 100 per cent effort and concentration and trained as if every day was an Olympic final.
And having watched his pupil see off the challenge of fellow medalists Sweden’s Hakan Dahlby and Russian Vasily Mosin, the UAE hero was extremely proud of “his friend” Wilson.
“[During the Games] I could tell the pressure [on Wilson] was telling. So I had a chat with him and told him no more telephone and no more facebook. You talk to only me for advice. He then realised he couldn’t let his chance go.”
Sheikh Ahmed added: “I wanted gold for Peter so badly and was very happy when he won.”