“Will you help me be an Olympic Champion?”
That was the question 15-year-old aspiring Olympic shooter James Dedman asked London 2012 Gold medallist Peter Wilson.
Months later, the duo are heading off to Peru today so James – currently British Junior double-trap number one – can compete in the World Championships.
James, of Mirfield, took up shooting four years ago with his dad Peter and now competes in the double-trap category – which involves firing lead pellets from a shotgun at two moving clay targets.
He is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Peter, who himself asked the same coaching question of top marksman Hasher Al Maktoum, from the Royal family of Dubai, who became his coach and led to him going on to secure gold at London 2012.
James, who attends Silcoates School, Wakefield, said: “Things have sky-rocketed since I met Peter four months ago and I asked him to coach me.
“ In shooting terms I have gone from being unclassified to representing Great Britain at the ISSF World Championship Shotgun in four months.
“It’s a bit daunting to enter the competition at this level, knowing I will be the youngest and there will be people there who have done it for a lot longer, but I have a great coach and I am excited to see what happens.”
His proud mum Julie explains: “James had never tried double-trap until Peter came to his shooting club and he was asked by another coach if he wanted to meet him and ended up shooting with him for three hours.
“Peter said he felt James had great talent. The next day, after seeing what he could do, James plucked up the courage to tell Peter he needed a coach and would he coach him?
“He said as long as James was totally committed he would coach him. It’s the equivalent of Ronaldo coaching a talented schoolboy at football. He couldn’t have a better coach than an Olympic gold medallist.”
Julie added: “James is competing at junior level which goes up to 21, so he is competing against people considerably older and more practised than him.
“Silcoates School have been brilliant. He doesn’t do rugby so his dad picks him up and he goes shooting on a Wednesday afternoon.
“Without the flexibility he wouldn’t have been able to get the extra practice in to pursue his dream.
“He is going to Peru and he is fortunate that British Shooting has paid for his flights and we have further supported him so he can have a week’s training when he gets out there.
“He is going with three other shooting competitors who are in the adult category and he knows them really well.”
James trains at Beverley Clay Target Centre in East Yorkshire.