The success story of three Olympic champions

When three Olympic champions Fehaid Aldeehani, Vincent Hancock and Peter Wilson, engaged in conversation, it was a spell-binding experience.

Published : Jun 05, 2020 19:43 IST , New Delhi

Two-time Olympic gold medalist and four-time World champion Vincent Hancock.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist and four-time World champion Vincent Hancock.

Two-time Olympic gold medalist and four-time World champion Vincent Hancock.

When three Olympic champions Fehaid Aldeehani, Vincent Hancock and Peter Wilson, engaged in conversation, navigated by Commonwealth Games champion Moraad Ali Khan, it was a spell-binding experience.

It was not just a talk about the success story. It gave an insight into how they pursued their golden dream and the other side of their lives, without sports being a part of it.

It was the concept of Happy Times, initiated by Amit Bhalla, vice-president, Manav Rachna Educational Institutions, that brought the champions together on the video platform, from Kuwait, Britain and the US, connecting them to world-wide audience.

The former World No.1 and Asian Games gold medallist, Ronjan Sodhi, who was being teased by Wilson, the London Games gold medallist, about their training together in Italy before the Olympics, jokingly asked Fehaid, the commando expert with his military background, about where to punch Peter!

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Quite at ease, Fehaid said, “punch the knee, then he will collapse, you can go step by step.”

It showed the camaraderie in the shooting community. Despite all the intensity of competition, at times against each other, the champions had the heart to look at things in different perspective and take a
joke on themselves. “I feel the odd man out here. We have two truly incredible champions. I have looked up to them. These guys have been to multiple Games and won multiple medals,” said Wilson, in awe of the other two.

At 31 years of age, Vincent Hancock has already won the gold in both Beijing and London Olympics in skeet. He has won four World Championship gold and 12 World Cup gold medals. In contrast, the 53-year-old Fehaid won his first Olympic medal in 2000 in double trap and came back to claim the gold in the Rio Games in 2016.

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He had won the trap bronze in London. “Winning an Olympic medal is not easy. I trained eight hours daily, five hours shooting and three hours in the gym. I have been shooting for 30 years. I have collected all the experience, both positive and negative. I have believed in myself. I can write a book on the hurdles
that I faced before Rio. Allah helped me too much,” said Fehaid.

A child prodigy, Vincent won the World Championship and World Cup gold medals when he was 16, and built on that sound base. “My mindset has changed over the years. It was an incredible year in 2005. I was winning everything. That set the stage for the Beijing Games. Having such success early, I believed that I can accomplish anything if I put my mind to it’’, said Vincent, who is married and with two children.

When queried, Vincent said that the sport was 90 per cent physical and 10 per cent mental.

Jumping in to give his point of view on the topic, Fehaid put the physical training to 98 per cent, and said that one should think about approaching a mind trainer for some specific issues thereafter. “So many shooters make the mistake of doing the mental training early. When they do, any mistake, you will analyse for bad thinking. First do the physical training 98 to even 100%’’, he said.

Peter Wilson recalled how he started as a hunter, firing his gun at squirrels and rabbits in the family farm. He said that he was lucky to get the guidance from the British Olympic champion Richard Faulds, and later had the incredible experience of being guided by the World and Olympic champion, Ahmed Almaktoum, of the UAE.

“Shaik Ahmed Almaktoum is one of the greatest double trap shooters. I was a spectator in Beijing when he was competing. I asked him to give me some points. He said that he might be able to coach me. I couldn’t believe my luck. Soon, me and my family met him in his palace in Dubai. He has been  instrumental in my success. He trained my body and mind’’, said Peter.

Before the Olympic final at home in London, Peter who had a three-point lead, was nervous. “I was petrified. He said that it was ok to be nervous. I am not allowed to divulge some points. He broke the final into specific targets, and told me the goals were X, Y and Z. He was an amazing guy,” recalled Peter.
Peter also talked about the scary experience of driving up the hill in India, with the accelerator wire snapped at a tricky bend, and finding his car between two buses.

Fehaid said that he became strong in tough windy and rainy conditions, as he ran out with a gun whenever he got a chance to train in such conditions. Peter recalled how Ronjan had beaten him 10 days straight in training, without making the same effort as he did. ”I don’t know how Ronjan did not win the gold in London, and I did. That is sport’’, said Peter.

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