British Shooters at the Olympic Games (Part 5)
Part 5 of our history of British clay target shooters at the Olympics focuses on the years 2000 - 2016.
The Sydney games saw Ian Peel at his best, claiming the silver medal in the Trap Men, trailed by Peter Boden at 26th.
At the time, Ian told The Guardian: “Obviously, you come with real intentions and I thought I could finish anywhere between first and 10th. But it is such a mental sport; you have to blank out distraction.”
Ian spoke to Vic Harker for Pull! magazine: “For me it was the challenge of shooting an Olympic discipline and the possibility that I might one day compete in the Olympics. What I still enjoy most, however, is aiming to achieve the perfect shot on targets – which always remains a challenge and which you never quite master.”
In the Double Trap, Richard Faulds came in second equal on 141 in qualification. Australian shooter Russell Mark set a new Olympic record in the qualification round and was close to defending his Double Trap title from the 1996 games, but lost the gold medal to Richard Faulds in a shoot-off.
By 2000, Faulds had become a full-time shooter, and qualified for the 2000 Sydney games after shooting a then Double Trap world record score. Richard's victory at the Sydney International Shooting Centre was Britain’s first shooting gold medal since Malcolm Cooper in 1988.
In 2004 Ian Peel had slipped back to 19th equal in the Men’s Trap event, with another young shooter hot on his heels in the form of Ed Ling, who came in equal 25th. Faulds came in at 13th equal in the Double Trap event while Richard Brickell peaked at 34th in the Men’s Skeet.
British women had been slowly entering the sport and Sarah Gibbins came in ninth equal in the Women’s Trap event.
Richard Faulds was back into the top 10, coming sixth in the final of the Men’s Double Trap. Steven Scott finished tied 12th in qualification. For Scott it was clearly a sign of things to come, going on to win the 2013 Commonwealth Games Trap event.
Charlotte Kerwood made her Olympic debut and came in 16th in the Women’s Trap. Elena Little (to become Allen) was one of six shooters to score 66 ex 75 in the Women’s Skeet, leaving her tied ninth.
The Olympics were again staged in the UK. Richard Brickell and Rory Warlow both shot 118 ex 125 in qualification to miss out on progressing to the final by two. Ed Ling was a rising star reaching 21 in the Trap Men. Ed explained that “It was a lot of hard work [to get to the Games] and a lot of money as I was entirely self-funding.”
Of the event, Ed said: “It was hair-raising, walking out to the range and hearing the crowd roar and cheer. Nobody could be prepared for what that felt like,” he says. “I didn’t know what to do. Should I acknowledge them, or just ignore them?”
Charlotte Kerwood repeated her performance to get to the 16th slot in the Trap Women event, while Elena had climbed the Skeet Women to 14th.
But the big news was Peter Wilson, who smashed to the top of the Double Trap podium on 143, three targets ahead of silver.
Peter Wilson is a natural shooter. Within four months of trying shooting at the Bisley Ranges, Wilson became the 2006 European Junior Champion at the tournament in Slovenia.
In the following year, he shot an MQS score and was invited to attend the Beijing Olympics in ’08 to observe and learn with the GB Team. Peter’s 2009 didn’t go well and, at the end of the year, his funding ran out. But 2009 was also a year that saw him form a friendship with a man who would help him become an Olympic gold medal winner, Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum, the shooting coach who won the first ever Olympic medal for his country, UAE. As Peter explains, Maktoum broke him down and rebuilt him again, readying him for the 2012 games.
For his achievement Peter was also awarded an MBE from HRH Prince Charles, who said: “You have brought shooting to the forefront."
A team of six shooters headed to South America to represent Great Britain in Rio. Five of the shooters competed in shotgun disciplines, and of those, four made it to their respective semi-finals or further.
Somerset farmer Ed Ling got things off to the perfect start, picking up a Bronze medal in the Men’s Trap on the first Monday of the games.
Following a tense sudden death shoot off to qualify for the Bronze medal match, the Taunton born shooter held his nerve to take home the Bronze.
Speaking after his success, Ling said: “It's great for shooting, it's another medal now and hopefully there's more to come this week. We have a great support team behind us thanks to funding from UK Sport and the National Lottery and we're all more than capable of picking up a medal for Team GB.”
In the Men’s Double Trap, Steve Scott and Tim Kneale ended up battling it out in the Bronze medal match. A bittersweet moment for British Shooting supporters, as Steve recorded a 30 straight to take the honours, leaving Tim with no chance to claw his way back after dropping two single birds and finishing on 28/30. Steve’s success meant it was the first time Team GB has picked up multiple shooting medals at an Olympics since Sydney 2000.
Amber Hill finished in a respectable sixth place in the Women’s Skeet, at her first ever Olympics. The Berkshire shooter qualified for the semi-finals with a score of 70/75 – but failed to make it into any of the medal matches. With targets dropped on her fourth, eighth and twelfth shots, Amber finished on 13/16, just one point off earning a place in the shoot-off for the Bronze medal match.