Norfolk shooter aims to become most successful Commonwealth Games competitor ever

Michael Gault.

Michael Gault. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

All eyes will be on Mick Gault in the coming days as he looks to shatter the Commonwealth record books in Scotland.

The 60-year-old shooter from Dereham is already England's most decorated Games' competitor having collected a huge 17 medals, including nine golds. But with Australian shooter Philip Adams' history-making haul of 18 in his sights, the Norfolk sensation can take his legacy to the next level in Glasgow.

Gault will compete in the free and air pistol categories and knows that podium positions in both will see him become the world's most successful Commonwealths athlete of all time.

The inspirational marksman, who came out of retirement to try and fire his way to more glory at the 20th version of the event, said: 'I retired after India (Delhi 2010) due to illness, and it was the illness in fact that made me realise what was important in life. I had a chat with my wife and she said we should go for the next Commonwealth Games which is in Glasgow. I missed the competitive edge and the feeling of winning, so made the hard decision of making a comeback.

'That's the beauty of my sport. My sport is totally different to any other where you're over the hill at 25. In my sport, you start at 25 or 26 and it's a good time to start. I didn't start shooting seriously until I was in my mid-30s and I was ready for it. I'm living proof that age is no limit in my sport.'

One of Norfolk's greatest-ever sportsmen will get his challenge under way in the 10m air pistol on Saturday. Monday will see him go for more honours in the 50m pistol category.

And Gault knows what is at stake as he bids to become one of the immortal names of sport since records began.

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'They (people) will see me being the best I can be. If the best I can be is good enough then that will be fantastic,' said the grandfather.

'I can't control all the other athletes on the firing point, but I'm going to be there competing with them and I'm not going to let them win. If they're better than me on the day then I can only apologise, but I'm going to leave with no regrets.

'The hairs on the back of my neck are standing up just thinking about it and it's an experience very few people in England or Great Britain in general will experience. I feel really honoured and privileged.'

Dereham's Chris Baker (high jump) and wheelchair racer Will Smith will also be in action as the Commonwealths take centre stage.